19 September, 2020

Fernandes Back On Dragon Trail

The defence minister continues to spit fire on China, leaving the foreign office red-faced and experts flabbergasted

Fernandes Back On Dragon Trail

A defence minister should be a defence minister. But India is faced with an unusual situation. Defence minister George Fernandes has particularly strong views on foreign policy—which is all very well. The problem is, he makes it a point to articulate these views publicly, with nary a thought on whether they are in keeping with carefully maintained diplomatic nuances.

Rarely has a cabinet minister whipped up as many spells of turbulence for a ministry not under his charge as Fernandes has in his five months in office. In fact, as far as the external affairs ministry is concerned, the irrepressible Fernandes can take credit for single-handedly straining relations with China.

The result: polemical exchanges between the two countries. Says a former Indian diplomat well-versed in Sino-Indian ties: "For nearly two decades or even more, there has been an absence of polemics between India and China, in spite of the fact that the problems have not been solved. Frequent reiteration that problems exist does not help the atmosphere...



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