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Was it a successful diplomatic visit at all?

Discussion in 'International Relations' started by Hembo, Jul 28, 2011.

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  1. Hembo

    Hembo OLD MOD STAR MEMBER

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    Was it a successful diplomatic visit at all?

    Behind the scene events were sometimes more eventful, Iftikhar Gilani takes an overview of the Khar-Krishna talks

    Taking lessons from previous near-diplomatic disasters — the Prime Ministers’ meet at the Egyptian resort Sharm al-Sheikh, and the one between Foreign Ministers of the two countries last year in Islamabad— External Affairs Ministry here had gone that extra-mile to shield the just concluded India-Pakistan talks from any inconvenient situations. Both sides took extra care to convey a feel good factor to sustain optimism, possibly till the Prime Ministers of the two countries meet in September on the sidelines of UN General Assembly session to take some concrete decisions, possibly on Sir Creek and Siachen.

    Much of the time during the talks between the Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabani Khar and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Wednesday, was devoted to reaching a unified how-to-face-media strategy. Ultimately, it was decided that the two will make a quick appearance before the media, read out statements, and not take any questions. A limited press conference was left to experienced foreign secretaries to explain provisions of the joint statement.

    Despite putting so many shields to prevent talks from wrecking, late night former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani had tried to puncture the “fee good†factor. Just when everybody had finished meals at the dinner hosted by Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik at the ITC Maurya Sheraton hotel, the senior lawyer took the mike and praised the deposed Pakistan president Pervez Musahrraf. Not stopping here, Jethmalani also attacked China, in the presence of Chinese envoy Zhang Yan. He said, “China was an enemy of both countries and asked them to join and defeat Beijing hegemony.â€

    The Pakistan High Commissioner took mike from Jethmalani to clarify that these views were not shared by Pakistan. Indian government officials scrambled too. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and some other MEA officials were seen rushing to Chinese Ambassador’s table to clam his nerves and apologised for the remarks. He was sitting with the US charge d’ affairs Peter Burleigh.

    Jethmalani made the 34-year-old foreign minister of Pakistan blush. He said he had secured invitation for the dinner after looking a the pictures of Khar in the morning newspapers. Agreeing that India-Pakistan talks could not have been held in great cordiality and phraseology as these talks, experts fear that choice of words on terrorism in the joint statement may haunt the External Affairs Minister like it happened in Sharm al-Sheikh in July 2009.

    The joint statement speaks of having agreed to strengthen cooperation on counter-terrorism to bring those responsible for terror crimes to justice. It also says that “ministers reviewed the status of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction on the holding of meetings on the issue of Counter-Terrorism (including progress on the Mumbai Trial)â€.

    Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal, objected to the reference to counter terrorism and progress on the Mumbai trials while omitting altogether any reference to the status of the trials of those charged in the conspiracy in Pakistan. Former deputy national security advisor Leela Ponappa also believed that there should have been a more extended reference to terrorism.

    Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao took pains to explain the provision. She refuted it meant to revive defunct joint-terrorism mechanism (JATM). It was set up by the two prime ministers at Havana in 2006. But India dumped it when it failed to check Mumbai terror attack in 2008.

    To keep talks on track following India’s annoyance at Khar’s meetings with Kashmiri separatist leaders, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chiefs of their respective factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Pakistan Foreign Minister avoided tricky issues and refrained from mentioning Kashmir at the brief media interaction. In a finely scripted plan, it was left to Krishna to mention Pakistan’s core concern. He said, “on Jammu and Kashmir, we will continue discussions with a view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.â€

    The issue cropped up at the foreign secretary’s joint press conference as well. Rao said the meetings illustrated the ‘divergence’ between the two countries. “We have a very different point of view from Pakistan on that particular event (the meeting) and we have expressed our concerns in a frank and candid manner to the Pakistan side,†she said. Her counterpart Salman Bashir moved quickly to dismiss the Indian apprehensions. “This matter of the meeting yesterday cannot be construed in any manner including intentionally or by design to cast any shadow on today’s talks,†he said. “I think we should not read more into it.â€

    Behind closed doors at Hyderabad House, the venue of talks, 79-year old Krishna told Khar: “Half of India, which is your age, looks towards you not just for your good looks but also dynamism and the fresh approach that you have brought to the table.†Sources said both sides did discuss Kashmir and Mumbai trials at length.

    Khar said: “A new generation of Indians and Pakistanis will see a relationship that will hopefully be much different from the one that has been experienced in the last two decades.†Krishna said the two countries had agreed to ease travel restrictions, boost bus services frequency and double the number of days goods could be traded across the Line of Control. “I can confidently say our relations are on the right track,†he said.

    Meanwhile, Khar’s visited the dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer before flying back to her country. Her helicopter ride to Ahmer was delayed due to heavy clouds around Jaipur. Her special Pakistan Air Force plane had earlier landed at Jaipur, to take her to Ajmer in an Indian Air Force helicopter. Late in the afternoon she, landed at Ghughra helipad near Ajmer and was taken to the dargah. She offered a chaddar and paid obeisance at Aastana Sharif. Earlier, the Pakistani minister has visited the dargah of Sufi saint Nizamuddin Auliya in New Delhi.

    Iftikhar Gilani is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.com.
     
  2. Sanibhagwan

    Sanibhagwan 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

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    Mr. Jethmalani must have had a couple of shots just after dinner, before his "know all" speech embarrassing everyone or Is it another Indian chanakyaness? :big_boss:
     
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