Sri Lanka rejects mangoes gifted by Pakistan

Pakistan’s mango diplomacy found no takers in several countries, including Sri Lanka, which declined to accept the fruits citing coronavirus concerns.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) sent boxes of the fruit to heads of more than 32 countries on Wednesday but the US and China among others have declined to accept them, the Hindustan Times quoted the ANI news agency as saying.

The agency cited The News International as saying that Canada, Nepal, Egypt and Sri Lanka have also expressed their regrets at accepting the gift.

The News International said that the chaunsa variety of mangoes were sent to these countries on behalf of President Dr Arif Alvi. People familiar with the matter told the News International that the boxes of mangoes will also go to Iran, Gulf countries, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Russia.

The newspaper also said Pakistan’s Foreign Office also listed French president Emmanuel Macron among the recipients but Paris hasn’t responded.

Pakistan sends India mangoes as well. In 2015, Pakistan’s then prime minister Nawaz Sharif sent mangoes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then president Pranab Mukherjee, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi in a bid to promote goodwill between the two countries.

“Mangoes were delivered to Modi through official channels even as Pakistan was accusing us of flying a drone into its airspace,’’ an official, who did not wish to be named, told HT.

Mangoes, known as the king of fruits, originated in the Indian subcontinent and are scientifically known as Mangifera Indica. It is the national fruit of both India and Pakistan. India is the world’s largest producer of mangoes and grows over 1200 varieties. Pakistan grows a third of that number. (Colombo Gazette)