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Ethnic Indian diplomat represents Malaysia at Obama inauguration


Kuala Lumpur : Ilango Karuppannan, the Charge d’Affaires of the Malaysian Embassy in Washington, will represent his country at the historic inauguration of US President Barack Obama.

On Tuesday evening, he will attend a ball where the guest list consists of the “who’s who” of Washington.

He will be the envy of many Malaysians, Star Online, web site of The Star, said Monday.

Karupannan, ever a diplomat, is himself modest and matter-of-fact about this honour.

“I am indeed blessed to represent Malaysia,” said Ilango, who will be going to the ceremony with his wife Nirmala Devi.

He said the US government only invited heads of diplomatic missions and charge d’affaires to represent their respective countries.

“I understand that this is also due to very strict security,” he reasoned.

Karupannan, who described the incoming US president as “possibly the most educated and erudite, and also the most international president you will ever get”, said Malaysia was looking forward to enhanced ties with Washington.

Besides the swearing-in ceremony and the black-tie official Eastern Inaugural Ball at 9 p.m., there will also be a diplomatic luncheon and a parade.

On Saturday evening, Ilango attended the Presidential Inauguration Reception hosted by the Asia Society where the guests-of-honour were Obama’s half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng and husband Konrad Ng.