With a finance minister who is increasingly scrutinising overseas expenses instead of accepting the discretion of the ministry of external affairs, Arun Jaitley’s nominee in South Block on deputation from his ministry feels that the Suva-Delhi deal to build high commissions in each other’s capitals is only doing lip service to reciprocity. Auditors who annually inspect all Indian missions abroad are also of the view that India has lost hugely on the allotment of land in Chanakyapuri to the Fijians because it is getting much less in exchange in Suva.
Land is also scarce in Chanakyapuri after Jawaharlal Nehru’s decision to give away entire streets as in Shanti Path in the heart of the diplomatic enclave to countries like China and prominent western countries. Nehru was so generous that Sri Lanka declined a portion of the huge parcel of land that it was gifted. Because there is no more land available in Chanakyapuri, a number of countries born after the end of the Cold War are being exiled to Dwarka where land has been given on a reciprocal basis.
Several other countries that have opened missions in New Delhi more recently following a growing global acknowledgement of India as an emerging power are operating out of rented premises in posh residential areas like Vasant Vihar. They also hope to get land only in faraway Dwarka, near the airport. Opinion is, therefore, crystallising within the Modi government that if at all any remaining parcels of land are to be given in Chanakyapuri, it should not be for Fiji. Instead, India could negotiate reciprocity in pricey European capitals, where its missions are on rented premises, and thus save millions of euros through hard bargaining." India's The Telegraph, 19 November 2014