Of all the millions of words that have been expended since Thursday night to examine and re-examine the collapse of the Indo-Pak talks into a slugfest between the two subcontinental S.M.s—Krishna and Qureshi—the most incisive 1,042 words come from the editor of the Madras-headquartered New Indian Express, Aditya Sinha, who lobs the grenade the Delhi media cannot fine the ball bearings to: did Union home minister P. Chidambaram sabotage the dialogue?
Even as Krishna is flying into Islamabad, Chidambaram’s top bureaucrat, home secretary G.K. Pillai, accuses the ISI of being behind the 26/11 attack in an interview with the Chidambaram-friendly Indian Express. Predictably, at the mention of ISI, Qureshi flies off the handle and accuses Krishna of taking orders on his cellphone, etc, and soon enough taglines like “Big Chill”, “Tu-tu-main-main“, “Aman ki Ashes” start crawling on TV screens.
Sinha’s entirely plausible theory sparks a bigger question: is the veshti-wearing, Harvard-accented Chidambaram what he is cracked up to be—a high IQ dude competently running his ministry unlike the bandgala-worshipping Shivraj Patil? Or is he just pursuing an agenda all his own that is often at odds with the weltanschaaung of the Congress and is perhaps even deliberately intended at causing discomfort to prime minister Manmohan Singh who has made foreign policy the signature tune of his second term?
The suggestion could have been dismissed off-hand if only if were the first such indiscretion. It isn’t.
# Witness the Telangana tamasha, manufactured mostly by Chidambaram’s breakneck speed in announcing the formation of a new State after TRS chief K. Chandrashekar Rao‘s fast-unto-death, that has turned Congress’ most profitable state into a liability.
# Witness the operation against Naxals that has turned vast swathes of the hinterland into a graveyard posting for CRPF jawans. (Arundhati Roy has called him “CEO of the war” because he appears to be furthering the cause of his former clients by using State power to clear tribal land for their mining and business interests.)
# Witness the upsurge in violence in Kashmir after the CRPF, which is getting slaughtered in the Naxal badlands, opens fire on teenagers throwing stones and plunges the State into the kind of chaos not since the militancy began in 1989.
# Witness the Afzal Guru issue which again gained traction following a report (obviously in Indian Express) that the Delhi chief minister Shiela Dixit is sitting on it that causes further embarrassment to a party bending backwards to avoid it.
Chidambaram has, for long, been a slightly distrusted individual in the Congress. Partymen salute his obvious brilliance in dealing with complex issues like the Bhopal gas compensation, but he is seen as a bit of an upstart who left the party and became finance minister in non-Congress Third Front and United Front governments. There are some who whisper that the careerist very nearly joined the BJP.
Even if you put all that down to professional jealousy, it cannot be denied that he enjoys a fair degree of middle-class sympathy, especially among the NDTV viewing sections of it, especially for his muscular stance against Naxals and his “proactive” approach to policing by mouthing hollow American tripe like the “Buck Stops Here”. He is, in a manner of speaking, the English-speaking Narendra Modi, without evoking the same visceral venom.
Nevertheless, the Indo-Pak kerfuffle is a good time to ask if Chidambaram is playing his own tune in the government, (which is why he routinely runs afoul of party loyalists like Digvijay Singh and Mani Shankar Aiyar). Is he doing it on his own volition or to some higher power’s script? On the other hand, if Chidambaram is eyeing the “7, Race Course Road” address on his visiting card should such an eventuality arise, will such antics necessary earn points on the Congress high command’s scorecard?
Did Manmohan Singh miss a golden opportunity by not accepting Chidambaram’s resignation (not since offered) after the first Dantewada massacre of CRPF jawans?
Or is there something here that falls short of logic?
…”Even as Krishna is flying into Islamabad, Chidambaram’s top bureaucrat, home secretary G.K. Pillai, accuses the ISI of being behind the 26/11 attack in an interview with the Chidambaram-friendly Indian Express….”
GK Pillai was stating an established fact. We should dispatch Aditya Sinha to Dantewada forests.
He is the only one minister in UPA cabinet who has guts and will to do some good things for the people of India, amidst of all impotent central ministers. Just becuase he started the ‘Operation green Hunt’ all these so called intellectuals(jholawalas)/gernalists(naxalites sitting in the ac rooms) started shouting against him.
No surprise if Sonia drops him from the cabinet, just because he may become a hurdle in Rahuls path.
When you have taken pains to start a dialogue, there was no need for Pillai to vitiate the atmosphere by saying’ he was stating the obvious’. Apparently he doesn’t have a sense of timing or there is more to it why blabbered. In that sense he was no different from Saeed. Krishna and Ms. Rao had no choice but to defend Pillai.But it was a poor performance by the Home Secretary…He could do something useful in Dantewada instaed of only counting how many CRPF personnel have died so far…
This article by IE is entirely off the point. Chidambaram, by far, has been the best Home minister we have had in a long while. yes, we have had a few Maoist attacks, and he needs to do a better job there, but he has certainly improved our response capability in Muslim terror front.
And he doesn’t want to sabotage Indo-Pak talks. On the contrary he has repeatedly said, we can only talk – for War can’t be an option.
I always disagree with Tarun Vijay of BJP. But he did make some interesting points in the NDTV debate yesterday.
1. Left Liberals are wrong when they say – we need to keep talking to pakistan, even in grave provocation and treat Pakistan with kid gloves.
2. SM Krishna did the right thing in being graceful and not retaliating to Qureshi’s statement. Diplomacy is about subtlety, which Pakistan lacks. India can’t afford to be uncouth, reckless and brash like Paki hot heads.
3. Pillai was entirely right to bring the issue of ISI support to the agenda, for what else can SM krishna discuss in Pakistan?
We need to demonstrate a degree of unpredictability, rather than regular – stop/start dialog – as response to every terrorist activity. This encourages ISI as it knows it can even manage a large attack on Indian territory, and blame it on Non-State actors and continue to threaten all-out nuclear war in case India retaliates. Surely, India should draw a line somewhere and show to pakistan it is perfectly willing to call its bluff. At the least, We need to be hard as nuts, in insisting on current talks will only be about terror, till Pak situation improves.
This is not war mongering – that would be wrong. But, we should demonstrate we won’t keep quite and do business as usual, when we know its state supports covert war against India.
Some leftists say, even USA handles Pak with kid gloves when it knows that the Acts of Terrorism in US are being linked to Pak-ISI support. That’s entirely wrong again. USA gets out-of-turn extradition of any pakistani civilian it feels is involved in terror acts (except famous ones like AQ Khan). It also has threatened, like Hillary did recently, that if a successful Terror act happens inUS territory and Pakistan is linked – Then it’ll have hell to pay.
Oh, BTW. While Chidambaram is not doing so well on Maoist front, why is it that Maoists are most active in Areas leftists are the strongest?? And what has leftist intelligensia done to curb the support for Maoism? They keep attributing motives to anti-maoist activities (like accusing chidambaram of helping his mining friends etc.)!!
Chidambaram or not, lets admit it – S M Krishna is not the right person for external affairs minister.
We need some one who is aggressive, dynamic, courageous and firm. Suave Krishna has neither of these qualities. Many a time, he looks a blank – either searching for words or making statements which are useless.
When Qureshi accused Pillai, our minister should immdtly countered it but sadly was left gasping!!
It is a waste of time and effort talking to the pakistanis in the first place, we are just bowing to US pressure and falling inline. Dont be surprised if India would soon come back to the table and get bombarded again!!
What else can one expect from a weak PM and weaker MEA?
He might sound tough etc. But he or the UPA government have done mighty little to counter terrorism. They have also been utter failures in tacking the naxalites. S.M Krishna going to Pakistan itself was a bad decision considering that Pakistan has hardly done anything to stop terrorist attacks on India. It’s high time that the leaders of this country showed Pakistan its place and acted against naxalites
If you say Chindu is a magician, you are not much off the mark. C’mon he beat the binary EVM from losing by 3000 to winning by some 3000 odd votes!! Even the high brahmin cheddis were scratching their head at the miracle. They can neither protest nor understand the revolutionary chamatkar, but had to suffer silently.
Coming to the operation green hunt( red would be appropriate, no?), I am sure he has alternate plan than the one involved with CRPF. How about another smiling buddha on the naxal land?? all the doubters of the last dumb bumb will be silenced and vedanta will get clean glassified level field. I am sure vedanta will appreciate mines sans naxals and forests and reward chindu appropriately.
About con-gress, well its all part of Trojan gaming, they have some and their opponent have some. Chindu may just be leader of the cheddi pack.
The peace process or whatever is non-issue. Think about it, who is Krishna to take any decision and what is chiddu that he can in any way to alter the course. They are nobody, even MMS is nothing in this.
shame on you churumuri.
Is there any point to these so called talks with Pakistan, other than provide some fodder for news channels?
Going by history, we should be ready for some type of attack by Pakistan in the near future.
>They are nobody, even MMS is nothing in this.
You mean No one can take a decision, because Sonia Gandhi won’t let them??
>Chindu may just be leader of the cheddi pack.
One of these days, in leisure, do explain your obsession with the ‘cheddi’…
Chiddu must leave his post and retire to his estates now , his like his Madrasi business men unfit and unable to uphold law and order he had been thrown out when he failed to pacify Anna Hazare