30 September, 2020

Big Apple, Small Bite

Vajpayee, in his diplomatic tete-a-tete with Bush, steers clear of focusing exclusively on Pakistan

Big Apple, Small Bite
In a week dominated by Iraq and the assassination of Jammu and Kashmir law minister Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, it seemed almost unlikely that Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and US President George W. Bush would find time to talk about anything else other than the threat of terrorism—and the global war against it. But when the two leaders met at the United States' Permanent Mission to the United Nations, it was bilateral relations that dominated their parleys.

Foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal described the Bush-Vajpayee meeting, which lasted for 35 minutes, as "very friendly and very warm". In international diplomacy, such a meeting couldn't have been described otherwise. But what was refreshingly different this time around, in contrast to other Indo-US meets that had focused primarily on terrorism, was that Bush, on more than one occasion, voiced his commitment to a "broad, strategic relationship with India", hoping that Vajpayee and he could together lay its foundation. One way of doing this, both leaders agreed, was to cooperate in the fields of space technology, diverse...


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