Why the Mexican Ambassador to India Is Using an Autorickshaw as Her Official Vehicle


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A convoy of luxury sedans sailing smoothly by as the small official flag on the cars flutters in the wind. This is often the image that comes to find when one thinks of foreign delegates and their vehicles.

But Melba Pria, the Mexican Ambassador to India is the rare exception to this rule. Her official vehicle is a beautifully done up auto rickshaw.

AmbassadorImage Source: Youtube

“Before becoming an Ambassador, I had travelled in India and I had always travelled in an auto rickshaw. So I thought, why not? Millions of Indians use an auto rickshaw, why wouldn’t an ambassador use an auto rickshaw?” says Ambassador Pria.

Compared to the gas-guzzling sedans and SUVs used by most foreign delegates, Pria’s auto – like other autos in the capital – runs on CNG, a more eco-friendly alternative to fuel.

“It is a very environment friendly vehicle,” agrees Ambassador Pria.

autoImage Source: Youtube

“And for a city like this, why not use it?” she says, referring to Delhi’s alarming pollution levels.

The auto will not only help reduce emissions but, in using it, Ambassador Pria is also doing her bit for the environment:

“This is the way that I want to contribute to the city that today is also mine. I am also a Delhite.”

asnsImage Source: Youtube

But it wasn’t all smooth-sailing.

As the Ambassador told 101 India, “It wasn’t easy to buy an auto. We had to get permission from the Ministry of External Affairs.”

It also took a bit of work to get the drivers on-board: “When you are the driver of the ambassador, there is a certain status in it. So how do you go from being the driver of an ambassador to being an auto rickshaw driver? What I tried to tell them is, you are still the driver to an ambassador, but the ambassador chooses to have a different vehicle.”

Mexican street artist Sanko also worked his magic on the auto, transforming it from a drab green and yellow auto to a beautiful white auto with colourful designs and motifs.

SankoImage Source: Youtube

When Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs visited India, it was the auto that he used to get around. “It is our official vehicle,” Ambassador Pria states simply.

As Jagadish Duggal, driver at the Mexican Embassy said:

“If the Mexican Ambassador can travel in an auto rickshaw, why can’t India’s elite?”

driverImage Source: Youtube

We couldn’t agree more, Mr Duggal!

Featured Image Source: Youtube

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