By NAVIN SHARMA
Sri Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India in May, 2014, with a significant message in India and South-East Asia by inviting leaders of SAARC and Mauritius to attend his swearing in ceremony. A few intellectuals raised their voice that a new era of foreign policy is going to erupt from the hands of India’s most Powerful Prime Minister ever. But in less than ten months after he assumed office, things have fallen apart. The recent of which was to send retired Army chief General VK Singh to the Pakistani event to represent the Indian Government.
But the biggest mistake Modi Government did was that it ignored the fact that Singh is the former chief of Army Staff. Sending a former top soldier to the Civil reception of a country with which the Indian armed forces have fought persistently since independence was fraught with danger.
Even though separatist leader Masarat Alam, who was recently released by the state PDP-BJP Government, was invited for Pakistan National Day celebrations at the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi, refused to attend the event, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs General VK Singh attended the Pakistani envoy’s dinner on Monday. Ironically several Kashmiri separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yaseen Malik were also present along with General VK Singh.
Asked specifically whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked him to attend the event,he said, “The Government of India asked me to go there.” The Minister’s
morning visit to the Pakistani High Commission came on a day when India and Pakistan argued over Hurriyat leaders meeting Pakistani envoy while the Indian Government made it clear that there was no role for a third party.
After attending Pakistan Day celebrations at Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, Minister of States for External Affairs Gen VK Singh expressed his feelings in a series of intriguing tweets with #Duty and #Disgust as hash tags.
The tweets imply that he was unhappy over the job the Government had assigned to him to represent India at the Pakistan National Day celebration. However, he went to the Pakistan high commission, clad in a green jacket, something that may not have been by the Modi Government unlike in the past.
If was see in the past, former army chiefs have been governors and other important advisors. It was for the first time that a former army chief was appointed as MoS. The appointment of Singh as MoS in the Modi Government signifies it as a bad administrative decision. Gen Singh accepting the post is even more questionable, as it shows his thirst for power.
There has been a lot of criticism in Social Media about the fact that Modi, who ridiculed the UPA Government for serving Biryani to the Pakistani envoy when Indian soldiers were being beheaded on the Line of Control, is now courting the very same enemy. The images of a laughing VK Singh in company of the Pakistan high commissioner will haunt PM Modi and his Government in future.
It will be interesting to see how the bilateral relation between the two countries turns out to be. Modi began his tenure as Prime Minister on a high note but it seems to be a tough road ahead for the biggest event manager of all times.