In 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy visited India without his partner. This time though, French First Lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy is accompanying her husband – much to the Indian media’s delight.
The last time he was in town, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was single – at least for the purposes of conservative Indian protocol.
That was back in January 2008 when Sarkozy was the guest of honour at the Indian Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi.
The international community of course was keenly aware that the French president was hardly single – the media could not get enough of his glamorous partner, Carla Bruni.
But the Italian-born singer and former model threw straight-laced Indian officials into a tizzy. The couple, at that point, were NOT married. How would they announce and seat Bruni at official receptions?
In the end, Bruni sat it out in Europe as Sarkozy made an official visit to the Taj Mahal, the world’s most famous symbol of love, sans son amour, or without his love, as the French would say.
He did, apparently, miss Bruni during the trip to the 17th-century edifice built by Emperor Shahjahan for his beloved wife Noor Jahan. Indian news reports said the French president “looked glum” as he toured the site.
Just days after Sarkozy returned home from his Jan. 25-26 Indian state visit, he married his lady love on February 2, 2008.
This time, when Sarkozy stepped off the plane at the HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) airport in the southern Indian city of Bangalore on Saturday, he was accompanied by his wife, the glamorous French first lady, dressed in a salmon summer dress.
Mrs. Sarkozy’s sartorial style is being carefully monitored by Indian media, with all eyes on Sunday’s dinner with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife, Gursharan Kaur.
Carla has a tough act to follow. Last month, during US President Barack Obama’s visit to India, First Lady Michelle Obama won hearts across the country when she arrived at the dinner dressed in a subtle dune and sable ensemble by designer Rachel Roy.
Mrs. Obama stole the limelight from her popular husband with her spirited forays during her India visit – including impromptu dances with performing school children.
Much has been made of the rivalry between Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Sarkozy, and Indian columnists are eager to judge who will win the latest round of the clash of the first ladies.
During her India trip, Mrs. Sarkozy will visit a foundation for children suffering from AIDS and tour a hospital in the capital.
Mrs. Sarkozy, who lost her brother Virginio to AIDS in 2006, became a goodwill ambassador for the Geneva-based Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2008.
Date created : 2010-12-03