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Krishna consciousness

The foreign minister’s gaffe in Parliament was deliberate. He wanted to check how alert his colleagues were. HT writes.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2011 22:13 IST

No doubt you are splitting your sides laughing at what you think is yet another gaffe by external affairs minister SM Krishna. This really does show a lack of perception on the part of many people when it comes to the dapper Mr Krishna.

On the face of it, he referred to a Pakistani who is lodged in an Ajmer jail as an Indian incarcerated in a Pakistani jail. The 80-year-old prisoner, said Mr Krishna, “is confined to a wheelchair… I am sure, the government of Pakistan will take a lenient view about this particular case. We will certainly pursue this at the level of the high commissioners”.

This shows you that the dear man’s heart is in the right place though he may not be a whiz at geography. Then again, we suspect, that this was no gaffe but a deliberate distortion to see how alert his colleagues were. And the ploy worked.

The redoubtable Brinda Karat, Rajiv Pratap Rudy and a few others were quick off the mark.

Earlier this year, when he mentioned in the presence of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton that India and Afghanistan are not immediate neighbours, he was misunderstood once again. Here he was not referring to geography but a distance in mindsets.

Why is that so difficult for all the Cassandras to understand? And when he started reading out the Portuguese foreign minister’s speech instead of his own at the UN Security Council earlier this year, he was just making a point that in this age of globalisation, we are all more or less saying the same thing and going down the same path.

Clearly, his brand of diplomacy and functioning are far ahead of his time, hence so many detractors.

People should focus on his strengths.

He is dab hand at tennis, which explains why he vigorously shook the new Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s hand to the point of dislocating her shoulder.

So the next time he makes a remark that may seem like a gaffe, try and look beyond it. It is not Mr Krishna who is on test but you.