By Desk FnF | PUBLISHED: 29, Nov 2018, 13:38 pm IST | UPDATED: 29, Nov 2018, 13:40 pm IST
Desk FnF: limitless capacity for treacherous behavior is matched only by India's bottomless ability to get surprised by it. India's outrage at being blindsided by Imran Khan and Pakistan army chief General Qamar Bajwa during the groundbreaking ceremony for Kartarpur Sahib corridor is in equal parts sad and funny. Did New Delhi seriously think that Pakistan would let go of the opportunity to score some cheap PR points at a high-profile event?
If this has been New Delhi's understanding of realpolitik, then questions must be raised against politicians and policy mandarins at South Block who devise Pakistan strategy (or whatever goes by that name).
Pakistan has been described by analysts as suffering from magnificent delusion, but in reality if it went into the Kartarpur initiative thinking that it could be seen in isolation and independent of the state of larger bilateral ties.
What India’s Kartarpur blunder tells us is this: Imran Khan understands the role of media much better than we do. Given the turbulent nature of bilateral relations and animosity between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
a rapprochement between the two inimical nations over even a religious, emotive issue such as visa-free corridor for Sikhism’s most sacred site could well generate global headlines and may be interpreted as a sign of thaw in bilateral ties.
It was an opportunistic moment for Pakistan, and Khan moved quickly to seize it. He made full utilization of the occasion to refer to the Kashmir dispute and fashion himself as the ‘apostle of peace’ before the presence of a large media contingent, while Bajwa was seen shaking hands with a pro-Khalistani leader. Khan also threw darts at Narendra Modi and suggested that Navjot Sidhu — the joker in the pack who cannot tell a news conference from a stand-up comedy show — would make for a far better prime minister. And he did all this at an event where New Delhi had sent two Union ministers.
A fuming India came out with a statement condemning Khan’s manouvres, calling it “deeply regrettable that the Prime Minister of Pakistan chose to politicise the pious occasion meant to realise the long pending demand of the Sikh community to develop Kartarpur corridor by making unwarranted reference to Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India.