Turkey flying in Indian envoy’s body

March 12th, 2011 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 11 (IANS) In a gesture underlining closer ties with India, the Turkish government has provided a military plane to ferry the body of the deceased Indian ambassador in Ankara back to India.

The plane, bringing the body of Raminder Singh Jassal, India’s envoy to Turkey, is being sent with the Turkish ambassador-designate and his wife, informed sources told IANS.

The unusual gesture is the Turkish government’s way of recognizing the work of Jassal, who has been India’s ambassador in Ankara since 2008, in transforming India-Turkey relations.

Jassal died Friday in Ankara due to cancer, the second Indian envoy killed by the deadly disease in the last one year. Cancer had claimed Arif Khan, India’s then ambassador to Italy, in February last year.

A 1976-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Jassal’s diplomatic career spanned important postings as India’s ambassador to Israel and Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington.

As a member of the Indian negotiating team for the landmark India-US civil nuclear deal, the veteran diplomat played an important role in the transformation of India-US relations during his stint as the deputy chief of mission in Washington.

Jassal was India’s public face as spokesperson of the external affairs ministry during India’s 1999 military confrontation with Pakistan, known as the Kargil conflict.

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