If steel tycoon Sajjan Jindal helped set up Modi-Sharif meet, then why this pretense of spontaneity?
Sajjan Jindal, a steel magnate, may have played cupid and convinced Indian PM Modi to fly by Lahore and spend some quality time with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.
Sajjan Jindal, a steel magnate, may have played cupid and convinced Indian PM Modi to fly by Lahore and spend some quality time with his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif. Seeing as how the Jindals and the Sharifs have common interest in steel for over two generations, it is possible he was the catalyst especially since he was also in Lahore. It's hard to understand why he tweeted this information because it does rob Modi of a certain sheen.
The spontaneity is lost and that kind of slips the whole thing into gamesmanship. I was all gung ho about the meeting but if there was time to place a guard of honour and, as a Pakistani official has indicated, security was beefed up days ago what was the idea of making it look like some sudden and incandescent exercise in diplomatic genius?
And it is also possible that the trip the Pakistani Ambassador made to Islamabad a few days ago indicates he was party to the plan?
So then, if you want to be the master of the game shouldn’t you maintain the charade till the very end and tell your buddies to keep it confidential. Mr Jindal tweets he is in town to greet Mr Sharif on his birthday which is a pretty thin disguise and shouldn't be of any interest to anyone.
There is no harm in the hush-hush part. By all means keep the planning low-key. The annoyance comes from being made to feel that this was a first time thing, a stroke of inspiration, the sort of smashing gesture we all make while brushing our teeth or starting the car, let’s do something so out of the way, some absolutely 'bend everyone’s ear' stuff that it takes people’s breath away. Like getting the wife a diamond necklace, booking a cruise to Alaska, buying a Bentley even if you cannot afford it or proposing to someone.
Or in this case, pop into an adversary’s house for din-din on his birthday, that sort of ‘Eureka’ moment.
My breath came back with a bump this morning. I know it makes no difference to the intrinsic value of the meeting and good luck to both sides but to be treated like children does tee one off. Where is the need for this grand charade, why not just say, we had planned it, we kept it on the back burner and here we are. Why pretend it was a sudden decision? This is what is difficult to understand.
That romance of the projected spontaneity was the fun filling and it fell away like that first stage rocket in those sci-fi movies as the astronauts toodle off to save the planet. If you were impressed by the Modi magic then you do feel a robbed and a lot small, like it’s bad enough we have to play this game but even in that the confidentiality unravels. Makes one feel one has been punked.
Now, let's just hope the spaceship stays on the right course and the two nations build on it. In isolation it will not have much impact but if it leads to better relations, guess we can swallow the canned goods with a tall glass of water.
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