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Gift diplomacy: Of shawls, carpets and mangoes

world Updated: Sep 09, 2012 23:57 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times
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When it comes to courtesies and gifts, New Delhi wants to put Pakistan foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on an equal footing. There is at least one reason to believe this.

External affairs minister SM Krishna gifted both of them — to Khar on this visit and to Clinton during her recent visit to India — the same kind of pashmina shawl. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari might not know of the 'pashmina shawl diplomacy', he lost no time in pointing out the "close" working relationship between Khar and Krishna.

On noticing a red band on Krishna's hand, the president asked Krishna if Khar had tied a rakhi to him?

The foreign minister also received several gifts.

The Pakistan president had also sent four boxes of mangoes to welcome Krishna to Pakistan and when they met, Krishna thanked the president for the gesture and two leaders agreed the two countries have a "lot of good things to share" and need to put the relationship on a strong pedestal.

Pakistan interior minister Rehman Khan presented a carpet to Krishna. He has interacted with leaders of all major political parties in Pakistan during the three-day visit.

“It is my earnest desire and the desire of Manmohan Singh, and the people of India that we would like to see a stable, peaceful, progressive Pakistan as our neighbour because that will mean quite a bit to the entire region," he said in Lahore on Sunday.

The minister also visited monuments like Minar-e-Pakistan, Dera Sahab gurdwara and Data Darbar sufi shrine.

"I am happy to visit Pakistan. I wish the people of Pakistan peace and progress. India would like to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan. I believe that the two sovereign countries — India and Pakistan — can and need to live respectfully and in peace, as good neighbours,” Krishna wrote in the visitor’s book at Minar-e-Pakistan.