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A journey of ten thousand miles begins with the first step. It is welcome. The “team” our Prime Minister has chosen to take with him in the bus, could not be faulted. It is an excellent blend of popular- in India as well as in Pakistan. Some of them have had roots in Pakistan. Good public relations.

Not many may know that behind this new form of diplomacy is Mr. K. R. Malkani, former editor of “Organise and “Mother Land a known Pak-baiter. We mention this because it throws a significant pointer – even “hawks” can become “doves”.

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The cynics had predicted that the Vajpayee voyage to Lahore will bring nothing substantial. They are partly right. The Kashmir problem remains where it was.

What was discussed “secretly” is unknown. Now the empty rhetoric about Kashmir should stop, at least. It may help in cooling the atmosphere and making it conducive for calm argument. For, countries quarrel when they cannot argue. They go to war when they have no argument left.

The present Home Minister had vowed to end to “proxy war.” Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru had publicly declared, “I have ordered the army to throw out the Chinese.” (They still occupy thousands of miles of Indian Territory). Kashmir is an integral part of India; say our leaders who have lungs of iron.

Yet, Azad Kashmir remains with Pakistan. Can we take a hint form Sardar Patel? Police Action brought Hyderabad into the fold of the Indian Union. Krishna Menon integrated Goa into the Union after army action. No Indian leader ever mentions these sterling achievements otherwise we would have at least three “Kashmirs.”

We are not advocating war Far from it. We are exposing the verbal guns our leaders keep firing without aiming at the real enemy. Indira Gandhi returned 99,000 prisoners of war after the liberation of Bangladesh in return for a few sweet (cunning) promises from Bhutto. Lai Bahadur Shastri returned the territory won by Indian army at the Tashkent Agreement.

We win the war but lose it at the conference table. In diplomacy, only formalities should be observed. Moralities should be kept in a cupboard. The marathion at 74 plus by Vajpayee will bring practically nothing except political breathlessness as the Italian madam is breathing down his neck.

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