Remembering the diplomat son lost to a terror strike

July 8th, 2008 - 12:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Rajahmundry (Andhra Pradesh), July 8 (IANS) A day after the suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, a pall of gloom enveloped the house of V. Venkateshwara Rao, an Indian diplomat who lost his life along with 43 others. “He told me over phone that he will come to celebrate his birthday on Aug 26 and take us to Delhi, where we will live together,” Rao’s father Vadapalli Appalacharyulu said as tears roll down his cheeks.

“He also wanted to know what he should bring for me from Kabul,” Appalacharyulu added.

A suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into the heavily fortified Indian embassy’s gates in Kabul Monday morning, killing 40 Afghans and four Indian nationals - Rao was among them.

As news broke out about Rao’s death in the terror attack in Kabul, a large number of relatives and friends gathered to console Appalcharyulu and his wife Subhadramma at their house in the Housing Board Colony here.

Rao, a 1990 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer, showed courage and opted for the posting in the Indian embassy in Afghanistan while many of his colleagues were not ready to serve in the war-torn country.

“Most of my colleagues are not ready to serve in Afghanistan. But I am not afraid of death. It will come any day as we serve the motherland,” Rao had told his parents, who were worried about his safety when he was posted as press counsellor in Kabul two years ago.

Rao, 45, was recently in India and had returned to Kabul only on Sunday. He had told his parents that he would return in August as he had completed his two-year posting and take them to New Delhi, where his wife Malathi and two children, 12-year-old Ankit and 10-year-old Amulya, live.

The diplomat’s body was brought to New Delhi from Kabul late Monday and the last rites would be performed in the national capital, his relatives said.

Rao joined the IFS as third secretary. He was in two minds on whether to opt for the Indian Police Service (IPS) or IFS but his father advised him to opt for the IFS.

The diplomat was fluent in Dari, one of the main languages of Afghanistan, and considered an authority on neighbouring countries. He had served in missions in Berlin, Colombo, Kathmandu and Washington before being posted to Kabul.

Born on August 26, 1963, in Narsipudi village in East Godavari, Rao completed his schooling in Guntur and graduation in Kurnool. He did his post-graduation from the University of Hyderabad and Ph.D. in India’s relations with Asian countries.

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