India Blushes Over Sarko, Bruni

Conservative country unsure how to host could-be first lady
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2008 1:00 PM CST
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, carries an unidentified child on his shoulders, as he walks with his new girlfriend, supermodel-turned-singer Carla Bruni, right, during a tour of the ancient Jordanian...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy’s ambiguous relationship with Carla Bruni has India up in arms over how to deal with the French president’s upcoming visit. Reports say Sarkozy and Bruni were secretly married recently, but Sakrozy won’t confirm or deny, leaving Indian officials to ponder what the protocol is for his maybe-girlfriend. Unmarried couples are largely considered scandalous in deeply conservative India.

Faced with an unprecedented protocol issue—where should Bruni sit, sleep, etc?—the foreign ministry has decided to let France decide whether Bruni should be treated as first lady. “India should not worry about whether they are married. They are our guests,” said one Indian professor. “In India we have a saying—‘Guest is God.’”