Did the Gandhis snub David Cameron?

The diplomatic rumor mill is spinning after Britain’s prime minister was unable to meet with either Sonia or Rahul Gandhi, key leaders of India’s Congress party and standard-bearers of the country’s  powerful Gandhi-Nehru political dynasty:  The UK prime minister was scheduled to meet Mrs Gandhi on Thursday in one of the customary courtesy calls made ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images
RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images
RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images

The diplomatic rumor mill is spinning after Britain's prime minister was unable to meet with either Sonia or Rahul Gandhi, key leaders of India's Congress party and standard-bearers of the country's  powerful Gandhi-Nehru political dynasty: 

The UK prime minister was scheduled to meet Mrs Gandhi on Thursday in one of the customary courtesy calls made by visiting premiers and heads of state, but the meeting was cancelled without explanation on Wednesday night.

Mr Cameron’s team were also disappointed at being unable to secure an audience with Rahul Gandhi, her son and a likely future prime minister of India. Mr Gandhi, who often makes himself available to visiting dignitaries and business leaders, left New Delhi this week for London.

The diplomatic rumor mill is spinning after Britain’s prime minister was unable to meet with either Sonia or Rahul Gandhi, key leaders of India’s Congress party and standard-bearers of the country’s  powerful Gandhi-Nehru political dynasty: 

The UK prime minister was scheduled to meet Mrs Gandhi on Thursday in one of the customary courtesy calls made by visiting premiers and heads of state, but the meeting was cancelled without explanation on Wednesday night.

Mr Cameron’s team were also disappointed at being unable to secure an audience with Rahul Gandhi, her son and a likely future prime minister of India. Mr Gandhi, who often makes himself available to visiting dignitaries and business leaders, left New Delhi this week for London.

One senior British diplomat said the UK government had been given very clear assurances that the Gandhis were “unavoidably out of town for a compelling reason” and that they were “very sorry to miss the prime minister on this visit”. He added that there was “absolutely no question of a snub”.

According to the Financial Times, Rahul Gandhi enjoyed a close relationship with former foreign minister and likely future Labour Party leader David Miliband. Cameron has also conspiculously cut "poverty tourism" out of this trip to India, focusing instead on the country’s economic progress. This may have irritated the Gandhis who view themselves as champions of the rural poor. 

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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