20 October, 2020

Fuzzy Signals

The PM's hawk and dove stand notwithstanding, the mood seems much more sombre now

Fuzzy Signals
Has the prime minister finally declared war on Pakistan, or not? The PM’s three-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir gave out mixed signals. While meeting troops at the border town of Kupwara on May 22, Vajpayee was full of war rhetoric. By the next day, there were "no war clouds" but only "clear skies".

So how does one explain Vajpayee playing hawk one day and dove the next? The PM’s spin doctors have their own take. Says a PMO official: "Don’t read too much into his off-the-cuff remarks." Trying to find a common thread in the two speeches, the official added: "Look at the press conference in its totality. There are no contradictions. The PM has maintained his Kupwara position that India would fight terrorism. Off-the-cuff remarks aren’t policy statements."

A PMO official who accompanied Vajpayee on his J&K visit had his own take on the Kupwara speech. He claimed that by ‘battle’ the PM did not mean an all-out war, but was referring to ‘action’. And when Vajpayee said that his visit should be taken as a ‘signal’, he actually meant ‘message’. The...



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