A reception held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) at its Beijing headquarters highlighting the entry of India and Pakistan turned out to be an embarrassment for the organisers as India's Red Fort with the Tricolour was shown as Lahore's Shalimar Gardens in a Pakistani tableau.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Indian Envoy to China Vijay Gokhale along with the ambassadors of Pakistan Masood Khalid and other SCO members attended the function.
The first colourful event, however, caused an embarrassment for the organisers as India’s Red Fort with an Indian flag was shown as Lahore’s Shalimar Gardens on the tableau of Pakistan.
These are masterpieces from the time of the brilliant Mughal civilisation, which reached its height during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan.
Elegant marble palaces and ornamental ponds within the fort were mentioned in the exhibit, as The Times of India reported. It’s also interesting to note the mention of Mughals at the SCO as the first Mughal ruler Babar came from Central Asia, which is strongly represented in the SCO.
Both Indian and Pakistani diplomats pointed out the faux pas to the organisers.
India’s exhibit displayed the Agra Red Fort and Taj Mahal while saying, “An immense mausoleum of white marble, built in Agra between 1631 and 1648 by order of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, the Taj Mahal, is the jewel of Muslim art in India, and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage.”
SCO officials were apologetic about the gaffe, saying that they failed to cross check the photos on display as this was the first event involving India and Pakistan.
Kazakhastan’s exhibit included a mausoleum saying:
The Mausoleum of Khoja Ahmed Yasawi, in the town of Yasi, now Turkestan, was built at the time of Timur (Tamerlane) from 1389 to 1405... In the partly unfinished building, Persian master builders experimented with architectural and structural solutions later used in the construction of Samarkand, the capital of Timurid Empire.
A photograph of the Mohenjodaro ruins were also exhibited by Pakistan.
On Thursday, the SCO headquarters will raise the flags of India and Pakistan and Gokhale and Khalid will beat a drum, heralding the entry of their countries into the organisation.
India and Pakistan were admitted as members into the six-member grouping at the Astana Summit last week.
The group now comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.
Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia have an observer status in the grouping that is increasingly seen as a counterweight to NATO.
(With inputs from PTI)
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