Twittering the Sheikhs ‘Shake’


A string of incidents over the last weekend must have perturbed many, especially the Indians.

First, last week, the stalled Indo-Pak talks resumed, though Indian External Affairs Minister expressed an aversion to calling them an extension of the “Composite Dialogue”.

The next day, suicide attacks in Kabul claimed a number of Indian lives, along with other foreign guests in Afghanistan. The Taliban lost no time in accepting the responsibility for it; as if we didn’t know who did it.

And to provide the cushioning effect, our Premier Dr Singh flew to the “Land of the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques” the following day, for a three day visit.

In between, Twitter-oor (our beloved Shashi Tharoor) came up with another articulated ‘gimmick’ which has become his usual stuff since he ascended the ‘throne’ of the ‘junior’ external affairs minister.

Interestingly, this time round, Twitter-oor might not have been that casual in spelling out that the “Saudis can act as interlocutors in Indo-Pak discussions”. Though he soon had to clarify his statement repeatedly in the media (which he cherishes) that he never intended to mean that Saudi Arabia can be a ‘mediator’. He showed amazement at the ignorance of politicos and media personnel about the meaning of the word ‘interlocutor’.

Well, what does Tharoor think of others? Are they nerds? Are they lamebrains?

People were ‘not too idiots’ to not have read between the lines of Twitter-oor’s statement. To later on pose in the media and harp upon definitions, simply downgrades an erudite fellow as Shashi Tharoor is, or rather was.

Now, getting back to the issue, during his return from Riyadh this week, Dr Singh, to a query, indeed uttered that he did discuss Indo-Pak relations with the King of Saudi Arabia on a one-to-one basis. And in fact, he requested Abdul Aziz to use his good offices to persuade Pakistan to desist from the path of abetting terrorism.

This, to anybody’s guess, shall clear it all. Tharoor was not just casually twittering. He had the blessing of Dr Singh. After all, he is the ‘junior’ External Affairs Minister and a pet of the UPA government. But then, he is slightly pampered and hence leaked the matter before India’s Prime Minister could proclaim it at large.

A scholarly analysis of India’s standpoint on Kashmir and cross-border terrorism might consume volumes and we are here not in a forum to do so. Our focal point of consideration is why India is keen to enjoin Saudi Arabia to solve Indo-Pak bilateral issues?

The answer to this puzzling question is in fact, quite simple. India’s foreign policy has, to date, not been able to break the ‘frozen igloos’ carefully built during the days of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. We may speak volumes for the ‘paradigm shift’ in our economic as well foreign policies post 1991, however, the ground reality is far from changed, at least as far as foreign policy is concerned.

Regarding Kashmir, Pandit Nehru referred to the United Nations and that was the genesis of today’s intractable “Kashmir problem” and along with it the ‘cross-border terrorism’. A number of wars with Pakistan have been the inevitable outcome of such a ‘goof-up’ committed by our celebrated predecessors.

Nevertheless, the most recent Indian overture to Saudi Arabia to ‘talk’ (not to mediate!!) to Pakistan, so as to reduce its terror sanctuaries is a logical extension of such a culture persisting in India. On one side, India is reluctant to resume the “Composite Dialogue” with Pakistan on a one-to-one basis, whereas it is prodding the Kingdom to nudge Pakistan on the other.

This clearly portrays India’s hypocrisy in formulating a clear foreign policy, and also highlights India’s helplessness in tackling terror in South Asia. After all, it is being pushed out of the fray in Afghanistan and Pakistan remains a favourite to the Americans.

In this entangled scenario, to expect the Sheikhs of Arabia to act as ‘interlocutors’ and persuade Pakistan to dismantle its terror-structure to favour India, is simply ludicrous.

Moreover, the Saudis were the first nation, along with Pakistan, to have acknowledged the Taliban government in Afghanistan.

The Sheikhs may “shake” in their own private ballrooms, but to expect them do that for the Indians would definitely be the expectations of buffoons.

We may watch a Jackie Chan movie instead.