25.2.10

Into the minds of Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir

This Pakistani shook hands with an Indian Army official’s wife and pronounced that she suffered from severe migraine. That is the reason Director-General for South Asia, Afrasiab Hashmi, labeled a ‘physiognomy’ expert, was said to have been included in the delegation that took place today at the foreign secretary level talks. He will apparently read the faces of the Indian officials and predict what they really mean when they utter those precious words. (If Indian diplomats were visiting we'd have a choice of astrologers?)

It is said that he can also predict the future. He is not trained but has a natural knack.

Now, as those who have been here for some time know, and the devil is my witness, I have deconstructed many a photograph and my hunch has not been far off the mark. I don’t even have to shake hands or anything.


Therefore, in the interest of the Indian side, here is my humble reading of Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir who have had "closed door talks" by now:

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said India had approached the talks with "open minds, fully conscious of the trust deficit between the two countries…Talks were candid. There was good chemistry between the two delegations. We had useful discussions.”

Good chemistry is like love. You don’t know what the hell is happening, but something is. It also results in suspicion. Every bit of information, even about orangutans, appears useful.

She said Pakistan wanted to resume the so-called "composite dialogue" - covering a range of key issues - but India felt the time was not yet right to do so "because the climate of trust and confidence has to be built up… I told them about our concerns about terrorism emanating from Pakistan. We agreed on step-by-step engagement."

It is clear from the picture. Although they are facing the same direction, they are looking at different cameras and her head is tilted slightly at an angle to the other side. It won't be step by step but a tangential idea.

Her Pakistani counterpart, Salman Bashir, wanted to discuss Kashmir and had already met the Hurriyat leaders before. It shows in his visage. Although Pakistan admitted the 26/11 attacks had been partly planned on its soil, he has an all-knowing look on his face but trepidation regarding this meeting; his left hand is too close to his body and straight.

Their clothes are also interesting. She is wearing a saree blouse with too short sleeves revealing thick arms. Good enough for flexing? The lower button of his jacket is unbuttoned, which one would expect him to do just before sitting. Either he forgot to button up or that’s the way he likes it. It shows a laidback attitude that seems to suggest: do what you want, say what you want, I am cool with it. And, yes, I can stomach things.

"We have agreed to remain in touch," concluded Nirupama Rao.

Sure. Like a cat offering a ball of wool while the bone remains buried (Kashmir, Hafiz Saeed, Baluchistan, all that Pakistan wanted to discuss).

End result: It was just a meeting, stupid. No strings attached to be detached.

And: As for the Pakistani ‘face reader’, let me tell you what I think. He is good with headaches and he will return with one!

12 comments:

  1. FV
    Pakis are used to of exchanging headaches. Well, they always bring headaches with them, and they got to be contagious.

    Now, the question is which sorts of headaches?

    I think they bring cluster HD, exchange and leave other party with tension HD which remains with them as Migraine HD to remind them of Pakis remnants to haunt them for the rest of their lives.
    circle

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  2. Circle:

    If we convert HD into HRD (Human Resource Development) just like too much sun can produce solar energy, who knows, we might have some solution!

    You are right about being haunted...

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  3. LOL they had a face reader??They should make that public,rest of the talks are boring.

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  4. First the picture you have up there is of Afrasiab Khattak an old friend and currently a Senator from NWFP. He is also the Gen. Sec.of ANP.
    I think it is TOI's mistake.
    I did not have to be a face reader to tell you that for three hours theses two barely spoke for about five minutes and after that there was no discussion on any subject.
    The funny part is that India does not want any mediation but hosts a meeting on the US request. And Pakistan... what can one say about its non existent diplomacy.
    HP

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  5. HP, Pakistan's problem seems to be less about non existent diplomacy than it is about non existent government and civil society --- A military state trying not to be one and failing.

    The visiting Pakistani Foreign Sec. was handed proof of involvement of serving army officers in the planning and plotting of 26/11 -- that sort of thing cannot be countered by diplomacy. Pakistani army cannot lie its way out of irrefutable facts but it keeps trying anyway.

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  6. "The visiting Pakistani Foreign Sec. was handed proof of involvement of serving army officers in the planning and plotting of 26/11"
    Were you in the meeting to claim with such authority that a proof or any proof was presented?
    Any proof of that would consist of hundreds and thousands of pages of reports and I never heard that India presented any such report or reports to the Pak delegation.
    The point of the meeting was to move forward and the truth of the matter is that both delegations failed to present any idea that would move the states forward.

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  7. HP,
    A small observation related to your comment :
    "The point of the meeting was to move forward and the truth of the matter is that both delegations failed to present any idea that would move the states forward."
    IMO, in the recent past during Vajpayee and Musharraf period - despite having had a history of Kargil war - there was enough ownership with the Peace process at the top level. Behavior of Current incumbents on both sides of the border hardly ever matches the same level of ownership. What we see happening at the level of delegates could be a symptom of this.
    Cheers,
    Mahesh.

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  8. "Any proof of that would consist of hundreds and thousands of pages of reports and I never heard that India presented any such report or reports to the Pak delegation."

    HP, This has been reported from official sources in the Indian press.

    http://tinyurl.com/ycmafb6

    Also, the Indian govt. does not lie to its citizens unlike some other govts....I will leave it at that.

    "The point of the meeting was to move forward"


    The important thing about "moving forward" as we all know is to move in the right order, i.e., for example, you do not start the race at the finish line but start with the start line. And the start line has always been there it was after the 26/11 terrorist attack that Pakistan has accepted originated from its soil. The start line here is bringing the culprits of 26/11 to justice, just to refresh your memory.

    Logically, the only other rational explanation for his dispirited and prejudicial rant when he was an official guest of the Indian people....what to say about that?

    " and the truth of the matter is that both delegations failed to present any idea that would move the states forward."

    While it is all well and good to spread blame "fairly and equally" on all parties involves, some sides are more responsible for the failure to progress than others, and we can all read the news and judge for ourselves as to which side that is.

    Cheers

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  9. http://tinyurl.com/ycmafb6
    Any news that fails to provide named sources is basically BS. If that is what you call proof that you live in some la la land and I can't argue with that.
    If the intention of the meeting was to blame Pakistan, then why the hell India wanted a meeting, it could have done by using the media. Indian government does not lie? Wow! That is some argument no one can beat.

    I am not blaming anyone but the purpose of talks was to move forward and that was not accomplished.

    Mahesh,
    I agree that there has to be something that both parties can agree on before any talks, since that is elusive right now, the best way forward is to place everything on hold and wait for the situation to improve....

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  10. KB:

    Agreed. There are few true connoisseurs here, though!

    HP:

    TOI's fault regarding the picture, but the news itself is strange. Of curse, one does not need to be a face reader, but I was just trying to make an attempt at analysing body language.

    I did not have to be a face reader to tell you that for three hours theses two barely spoke for about five minutes and after that there was no discussion on any subject.

    So, what exactly were they doing for 175 minutes? I am very curious.

    And the purpose of the talks was to act as a placebo. Nothing else.

    Okay, some general comments:

    1.I agree with Mahesh.

    2. The problem on the India side is let's first talk about terrorism. It won't work. And why this sudden need? 20 years of terrorism...earlier it was just Kashmir, now terrorism. Are we to understand that in some ways the K issue is put on the backburner to coddle the elite crowd?

    3. The problem on the Pakistani side is to deal with US interference, and its changing stance. I am afraid, while it may nto have any desire to provide evidence for 26/11, this whole dossier business makes little sense.

    The two countries are dealing with a red-tapism that will keep the fire burning as they have often wanted it to, to cater to their own constituencies and keep themselves in power.

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  11. HP wrote:
    "If the intention of the meeting was to blame Pakistan, then why the hell India wanted a meeting, it could have done by using the media. Indian government does not lie? Wow! That is some argument no one can beat."

    HP,

    No, that is not what I said -- you have misrepresented what I said just to make a rhetorical argument without addressing the substance of what I wrote. I will explain again.

    What I said was specific to that news item, i.e., Indian govt. cannot lie that the FBI gave it specific information from David Headley that the handlers of 26/11 were serving members of the Pakistani Armed forces -- this is the gist of the news item. If the Indian govt. lied about such a thing, you think the FBI people will be sitting quietly and will not protest?

    Pakistan has accepted that elements that operate from within its territory were responsible in the planning and execution of 26/11. So Pakistan is being blamed for 26/11 because of its own admission and requisite proof that points to complicity of various elements within Pakistan. The Indian govt. has gone on a limb and accepted that maybe the Pakistani establishment cannot be directly blamed for the terrorist acts of its citizens.

    But make no mistake, if the Pakistani Army and the Government want to claim that Pakistan is a sovereign nation, then as entities that claim to be in charge of Pakistan, they need to prove to everyone else that their writ runs within Pakistani territory.....with US drones freely bombing Pakistanis in Pakistani territory, do you think this is true any longer?

    If Pakistanis want to pretend that 26/11 is all over and forgotten with, they will find that Indians have not forgotten about 26/11.

    If Pakistan does not address the problem of Pakistani terrorists targeting India from Pakistani soil, then nothing will come out of these talks. Pakistan can fix itself for its own benefit...or not....it is not India that will be affected if Pakistan destroys itself from the inside out by using jihadi terrorism as State Policy. Pakistanis need to understand the ground reality and do a course correction for their country, or not -- no skin off India's nose either way.

    Cheers.

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  12. HP wrote:

    "Any news that fails to provide named sources is basically BS. "

    It is the FBI's documents that have pointed to the Pakistani Army's involvement in the plotting and planning of 26/11. I was stating that the Indian govt. cannot lie about something that was acutally not in the FBI documents -- the FBI does not take misrepresentation of its view lightly, even if it is the Indian govt. that is doing the misrepresentation.

    In the real world, if the Indian government was lying about what the FBI stated in its documents, then the FBI would expose the lies of the Indian govt. That has not happened. I would refuse to by any notions that this is some joint conspiracy hatched by the US and India against Pakistan.

    Think Occam's Razor, i.e., the simplest explanation is usually the right one.

    Cheers

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