Written by Pranab Dhal Samanta | New Delhi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it appears, has taken a call to hold his diplomatic conversations in Hindi, with interpreters being deployed in almost all his meetings, including those where the dignitary on the other side speaks in English.
While Modi is quite conversant in English given that many New Delhi-based diplomats have met him and never found language to be an impediment, sources said he seems to have decided to stick to the national language in his interactions. That he is reasonably comfortable with the English language is clear by the fact that interpreters are not required to translate from English to Hindi.
For instance, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa spoke in English during his bilateral meeting with Modi and at no stage did the PM require the interpreter’s assistance to understand what the Lankan President was saying. However, his responses were always in Hindi for which the services of the interpreter were used. In fact, he followed the same protocol with the Special Envoy of the Sultan of Oman, who spoke in English.
But with those who spoke Hindi or Urdu, the interpreter was not required, like the one-on-one with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In fact, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, who has studied in India, also spoke in Urdu with some Hindi words and so a translator was not needed.