Manmohan’s Quest for Statesmanship

Indo-US Nuclear deal made Manmohan confident. Rahul’s hesitance to take over strengthened his respectability in the party. He appeared to be forcing himself in cabinet making and allocating portfolios. Manmohan manipulated induction of Krishna as foreign minister to keep himself in the main role of leading the country’s foreign policy. Manmohan now is hell bent to prove that he is as good a statesman as Nehru if not better. And Manmohan, in his quest for statesmanship, will go to any ‘doomed archival site of international brotherhood’, as apparent from his attendance at NAM in Egypt.

How can any Indian and for that matter a Prime Minister agree to include a reference to Baluchistan in a statement with Pakistan’s intention of accusing India of fomenting an insurgency there and allow the global community to put India at par with Pakistan in terrorism game? Will Manmohan saintly statement in parliament help changing the global perception when Pakistan is hell bent on marketing it?

His joint statement with the prime minister of Pakistan, issued from the sidelines of the NAM summit may not be a testament of total surrender as some columnists claim, but it was certainly in bad taste. The text read as follows: “Prime Minister Gilani mentioned that Pakistan has some information on threats in Balochistan and other areas. Both Prime Ministers recognized that dialogue is the only way forward. Action on terrorism should not be linked to the Composite Dialogue process and these should not be bracketed. Prime Minister Singh said that India was ready to discuss all issues with Pakistan, including all outstanding issues.” Why couldn’t the Manmohan and his diplomats get the mention of Balochistan deleted?

Some call it timid and impotent. As one columnist opines, ‘now India and Pakistan are equals in their sins, and it took the sagacity of a Mahatma Manmohan to tell the truth.’

As clear from his replies, Manmohan wishes to trust Pakistan’s new leadership that is considered very weak in its own country following on the footsteps of Bajpai. I couldn’t understand why Manmohan exhibited this sudden love for Bajpai so openly in parliament. Perhaps it was to blunt the already very poorly presented attack from BJP front. Manmohan appeared to have succeeded. BJP has none to put the points forcefully enough about the Manmohan’s misadventure. I found opposition parliamentarians listening Manmohan’s written reply with awe and perhaps admiration too.

Manmohan can go to any length to get in the good books of his western friends who somehow wish to keep Pakistan being an Islamic country on its side. As some columnist wrote, Manmohan might be aiming for a Nobel for peace and his western friends may help him.

Manmohan keeps on referring to Pakistan as neighbour that one can’t choose. But what does one do when the neighbour gets proved unscrupulous time and again? We have bad experience of a similar neighbour. We keep totally detached. Why can’t India live without making love affairs with Pakistan? Why should not Manmohan show similar love affairs with other neighbours that would have been more beneficial for India? Manmohan wishes to verify the transformation in Pakistan’s intention with one more 26/11 or attack on India’s parliament.

For all practical purposes, Manmohan has nothing to loose. If he succeeds he becomes hero. If his efforts fail, Sonia and Congress can disown him at appropriate time as it has done Rao who gave Manmohan the liberty to go ahead to act and become the hero finance minister of 90s with liberalization to his credit.

But I wonder why Manmohan doesn’t endeavour to put the things in the domestic governance right. Why do India’s infrastructure projects announced never get completed?

Why does it take still more than 170 clearances to set up a power project even after five years plus for Manmohan? Why are about 423 projects of the 925 in the central sector facing huge delays and cost overruns? Is Manmohan concerned about it? Why should he, as it will not give him Nobel?
PS: B. S. Raghavan wrote in Hindu Businessline, “The Prime Minister’s prestige might have suffered, but he enjoys the big advantage of TINA (There Is No Alternative).”

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