It was a select gathering of all the Capitals' who's who at French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler's farewell, on Wednesday evening, at the Embassy. The ambassadors of Brazil, Chile, China, and the Australian high commissioner were present; as was former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal, and MPs Anand Sharma and T Subbarami Reddy. The guest list was not restricted to politicos and diplomats; there were also representatives from the art world. Designer and curator Rajeev Sethi, artist Subodh Gupta, renowned poet Ashok Vajpeyi and acclaimed designers Ritu Kumar and Ritu Beri, were just a few of the names present to bid the ambassador goodbye.
After a term of more than three years Ziegler stated he felt significant milestones had been reached "in the form of the strong personal rapport between our leaders, Emmanuel Macron and Narendra Modi." He went on to speak about IndoFrench ties and the shared interests between the two nations.
"Beyond diplomatic slogans, I would like to say how deeply I believe in the almost existential nature of our relationship," he added. The mood of the evening, though sombre, was clearly French-centred. As Chiki Sarkar, publisher, and co-founder of Juggernaut Books remarked, "With so much laughter and familiar faces around, when the wine is flowing, with such delicious canapés being served, it's always going to be a memorable occasion." This was reinforced by Ziegler's optimistic statement that it was not a permanent farewell. "To all of you, my dear friends, I say: à bientôt, phir milengey!"