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Today in New Delhi, India
Mar 30, 2017-Thursday
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Plane and practical

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It’s in our best interest as a nation to have cordial relations with all other countries. So some convent school types may nod their heads disapprovingly now that the Government of India has decided to discontinue sending felicitations to the governments and the people of the countries that the presidential or the prime ministerial plane flies over. Until now, that seems to have been the rule. So when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flies to Moscow next time, he won’t have to scatter a trail of ‘greetings’ to his counterparts in Islamabad, Kabul, Tashkent and Alma Ata — that is, if the prime ministerial plane flies over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan before landing in Moscow. One can only guess how many more e-mails or faxes that were required to be sent if an Indian Prime Minister flew to Brazil. (“Have you sent that fax to President Rafael Correa yet? We are flying over Ecuador. Quick!”)

Such geo-political politesse seems rather quaint in these non-non-aligned days. Perhaps with no country having the time to respond to thankful India’s leaders flying above their heads, it was a matter of GoI realising that there was nobody at the other end. But there may be a life to the gesture of pleasantries yet. With chief ministers flying over various states — some friendly, some unfriendly — wouldn’t it be grand if the CM sends greetings to his counterparts in the states below? (“Mulayam-ji, greetings,” reads Sheila Dikshit’s message as she flies over UP on her way to Bihar.)