There is a strong possibility that French President Nicholas Sarkozy would be accompanied by companion Carla Bruni to India later this week. And the two may also make a brief trip to the Taj Mahal.
Sarkozy, who is chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations, has a four-hour slot in his itinerary for January 26 marked “private”. The slot is after the ceremonial parade and before the ‘at home’ reception by the Indian President, and is long enough for him to visit the monument of love along with Bruni. But officials are tightlipped.
Bruni is not a part of the official delegation, but “anything can happen” at the last minute, diplomatic sources said on Monday.
The French President returns to Paris later on Saturday night after his two-day state visit, the run-up to which has generated considerable interest not for matters of state, but for matters of protocol involving his personal life. Sarkozy recently declared he was “serious” about Bruni, who accompanied him recently on official visits to Egypt and Jordan.
With differing protocol requirements for state visits, Bruni’s status — whether as a spouse or companion — has caused what official sources said was “a logistical and protocol headache”.