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Agnihotri quits as Ambassador-at-Large

By Amit Baruah

NEW DELHI, MAY 25. Bhishma Agnihotri, the New York-based Ambassador-at-Large for non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), has resigned from his post — a job specially created for him by the Vajpayee Government.

A source in the Ministry of External Affairs said today that Mr. Agnihotri, a green-card holder and one-time office-bearer of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, an overseas affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had sent in his resignation to the Foreign Secretary's office on May 23.

Mr. Agnihotri, whose appointment in August 2001 led to considerable friction with the Indian Ambassador to the United States as well as India's Permanent Representative in New York, had a controversial tenure. There were problems in his accreditation as well since it was pointed out that there could not be "two" ambassadors in one country. Finally, he was given diplomatic accreditation by the United Nations route — in the rank of Special Adviser to the U.N. through India's Permanent Mission in New York.

In a January 2003 interview, Mr. Agnihotri was quoted as saying: "I am proud of my RSS background. Every person has a background. Some are dacoits, some are thieves. My wife, Krishna Maudgil, has a Congress background."

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