New Delhi - India has botched up a patriotic publicity drive heralding the success of the country's athletes in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.
The promos, which have appeared in newspapers, were intended to show Indian badminton sensation Saina Nehwal against the mid-flight silhouette of planes emitting the national colours in vapour plumes.
But instead of using an Indian acrobatic display, publicity managers for the Income Tax Department selected a shot of Italian jets emitting the Italian red, white and green national colours, which are similar to India's.
The Times of India newspaper said the advertisements worth hundreds of thousands of rupees (dollars) appeared to be a "cut-paste" job by the state-run Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) agency.
"For all the patriotism oozing out of the ad, the blunder is huge," the daily commented as India boasted of its record tally of 32 gold medals Wednesday in the Games which opened on a chaotic note earlier this month.
India's own military aerobatic team comprise propellor-driven aircraft which are easily recognised due to their crimson red color.
DAVP director general Frank Noronha tried to shift blame for the blooper.
"It is a matter of simple oversight... but we have not designed that advertisement. It had been given to us for release by the concerned department," he told AFP.
In January, New Delhi published newspaper advertisements to showcase state welfare measures for young girls, but with a photograph of a Pakistan's former airforce chief accompanying Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In March, a government advertisement for a new luxury train service embarrassed the rail ministry by placing New Delhi inside arch-rival Pakistan.