The Apostolic Nunciature, the Vatican's mission in India, has decided to buy and use three-wheeled auto-rickshaws as official transport, according to diplomats in Delhi. The US and two European missions in the Capital are discussing the possibility of doing the same.
The decision was inspired by Mexico's ambassador to India, Melba Pria, who began using an auto-rickshaw as her official vehicle five months ago, according to The Telegraph.
There are challenges to be faced if the missions truly switch vehicles from four wheels to three. An auto-rickshaw leaves its driver and passengers open to the weather, for one thing, and open to security risks for another. Responsible for the security of foreign diplomats in the country, India may also object.
Indian protocol is also against the auto-rickshaw. The vehicle is not allowed in the Parliament complex and the Prime Minister's residence, for instance.
On the other hand, with concerns about carbon emissions, the CNG-powered auto-rickshaw which uses about one-tenth of the fuel used by limousines, seems to make sense.
Mexican ambassador Pria said she was not trying to set a trend when she first began using an auto-rickshaw five months ago. "I was just following the Indian crowds," said Pria. "But yes, some diplomats have come to me and said, 'Well, auto-rickshaw, maybe that is not a bad idea'."
Last November, Richard Verma, the US ambassador Richard Verma, took the American ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, on an auto-rickshaw ride from the mission to a meeting.