24 November, 2020

Now The Polite Battle

India wins round one diplomatically, but it's a long haul ahead

Now The Polite Battle
Every cloud has a silver lining. On home turf, the bjp government may be bumbling along, but internationally it's savouring a diplomatic triumph that's as sweet as it's accidental. Never in recent history has Indian diplomacy found itself in a stronger position, as world opinion by and large scorns Pakistani posturing and buys India's claim that its territorial rights have been violated.

The icing on the cake was Bill Clinton's letter to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee asserting that the US President had written to Nawaz Sharif to initiate immediate steps to defuse the crisis. In other words the onus lay at Pakistan's doorstep. The Indian side welcomed the letter, pointing out that the Americans had been making the right kind of statements from the beginning.

Even before this letter, credible reports revealed the Clinton administration to be persuading Sharif to withdraw the intruders and de-escalate the situation. In New Delhi, US ambassador Richard Celeste was quoted as saying that the US wanted intruders in Kargil to be withdrawn and Indian military action to be...



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