21 June, 2021

Balanced Dissatisfaction

India, Pak were close to real breakthrough, Modi must pick it up

Narendra Bisht
Balanced Dissatisfaction

The meeting between Benazir Bhutto, the first female Muslim prime minister in the world, the toast of her times and the only celebrity the Clintons ever queued up to see, and India’s young and handsome PM, Rajiv Gandhi, held a lot of promise. Both had similar pedigree. Benazir was at Oxford and Harvard; Rajiv at Cam­bridge. They got off beautifully. There was a lot of promise in the air and many felt the two would usher in a new era of peace. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Pakistan was flying high at that time, having just seen the Soviets withdraw from Afgha­nistan as a result of its efforts, supported by the US, European allies, China and a lot of the Muslim world. That it would have to pay a big price for the policies crafted to tackle the Soviet invasion of Afghan­istan is not the subject here; I have dwelt on it in my new book, Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove.

Rajiv wished to go into the 1989  election with the image of peacemaker-statesman and felt peace with Pakistan could yield dividends. Perhaps it could even make people forget the...

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