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In eminent company

Dubya's legacy is alive and well, not a day passes without some leader coming up with an innovative gaffe.

india Updated: Sep 10, 2012 23:02 IST

If the US had George W Bush, India has SM Krishna. Now that statement would sound like we have some competing nuclear warhead in our arsenal, but that's not what we mean. Here we are referring to our gaffe-prone foreign minister who is a master at the game like the former US president, a grandmaster at making a gaffe sound cool. After nonchalantly reading a wrong speech at the United Nations a couple of months ago, Mr Krishna raised a minor diplomatic storm in Islamabad during his just-concluded visit. Asked whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will visit Pakistan in the near future, the foreign minister, who we gather should be in the know of his boss's cross-border travel plans, first said "sure" and then (probably after a nudge by foreign ministry officials), corrected himself to say that he was "hopeful" of such a visit.

But his gaffe was matched in equal measure by his Pakistani counterpart, Hina Rabbani Khar. At the joint press conference, the beautiful minister, Pakistan's secret weapon many would say, addressed the audience as "extinguished" instead of "distinguished". We are much relieved to report that there were no blasts in the vicinity. Then while talking about an avalanche in Siachen, the lady mispronounced the name "Gyari" to say "Lyari", a town in Karachi. Now you can't blame her for such small mistakes, can you? Poor thing, she is still learning the ropes. Maps are always a challenge for leaders, and that's not surprising since they are forever moving from one end of the world to the other but without having to do their own tickets and visas, programmes or run around for foreign exchange. So can you blame US President Barack Obama for mistakenly referring to Hawaii as being in Asia while holding a press conference outside Honolulu in 2011? Or commenting gravely in Florida that the "Middle East is obviously an issue that has plagued the region for centuries."

But instead of criticising the leaders for their gaffes, we must thank them for introducing such colour in their speeches; otherwise those long boring diplomatic speeches have the power to put even the most determined to sleep.