E R RAMACHANDRAN writes: I met the Spokesman for Ministry of External Affairs at the entrance of Press Club. Here was a chance to know the way the foreign policies are framed by the Government, I thought, and quickly reminded him that he had offered to spend an evening with me. He graciously agreed.
I ordered his favorite Scotch with ice and a beer for me.
The Spokesman was even more gracious and offered me Havana Cigar.
As I inhaled, the cigar brought me all the questions racing to my head.
“That was a great NAM Meeting you just had,” I started, sipping my beer.
“Couldn’t have been better. Although we missed the Old Man – Castro – everything went very well especially P.M.’s meeting with General Musharaff,” said the spokesman taking big swigs of the whiskey.
“According to Police, both the perpetrators of Mumbai blasts and the World Trade Center blasts seem to have been trained at the same Training Centre. 7/11 and 9/11, if you like. Of course, you know 7/11 stands for 7th July, the day of Mumbai blasts.”
“Very true. We have handed over the details of the Training Camps in POK camps to FBI and CIA.”
The Spokesman called out the waiter and ordered for Vodka with ice. I was surprised with his change of menu, but I ordered some more beer for me.
The Cigar smoke hung around us and the air was getting hazy.
“The P.M. issued a joint statement with Gen. Musharaff that Pakistan is also a victim of terrorism. By the way, how will you jointly operate the mechanism of monitoring terrorism when one of the parties is known to indulge in the act?” I asked.
The spokesman took a large gulp of vodka and said, “Look here! we are not absolving Pakistan’s support to militants across the border. In fact I have got that in my notes and show it to their Spokesman whenever we meet! The joint mechanism allows us to exchange notes as and when acts of terrorism are committed either in Kashmir, Mumbai or wherever in India. All the communication channels will be open and we will conduct joint investigations on motives, kind of bombs used, whether it is for freedom struggle etc.”
Next, the Spokesman ordered Red wine as I stuck with beer.
“President Bush has asserted U.S.’ right to flush out Osama Bin Laden by sending his troops, if there is information, if he is holed up in Pakistan. Do you agree with that?”
“Of course. U.S has got every right to get Laden by whatever means it feels appropriate.”
“Do you think that it is against the sovereignty of Pakistan?”
Taking a mouthful of wine, the spokesman defended his new ally. “Of course! Pakistan has every right to defend itself if any outside force enters its country!”
By that time, the air was so thick with smoke, we could neither see each other nor reason.
“One Last question before we go. Will your joint Partner to fight terrorism, hand over Dawood Ibrahim to you since he is the mastermind and now convicted in Mumbai blasts?”
“You know, we are partners in fight against terror. Our joint mechanism will not allow that,” mumbled the spokesman.
May be because of the swirling cigar smoke, drinks, or our confusing foreign Policy, I could hardly see the Spokesman as we staggered out.