It is therefore unfortunate that on his return to Delhi, Mr. Singh played to a domestic constituency, keen on highlighting Pakistani snubs, by acknowledging in the Rajya Sabha on Friday reports of a “media blackout” during his visit. His explanation about returning to India without attending the lunch hosted by the Pakistani government because their minister gave it a miss was, “I did not go to Pakistan to have lunch.” This may, of course, be read variously, as a rebuff or as an indication that the lunch was immaterial to the larger purpose of the visit. But by not embedding his remarks, which included an aside on India’s tradition of hospitality, in a more nuanced road map for SAARC cooperation, the Minister has unnecessarily given play to pointless nitpicking. This tendency of matching Pakistani provocation with Indian retort is not always necessary. It can undermine India’s diplomatic effort to build a greater constituency for regional cooperation, not just in Pakistan but also in the other member countries. Having said this, the Pakistani establishment showed scant regard for bilateral relations by allowing terrorists wanted in this country to organise unchecked anti-India protests during Mr. Singh’s visit. It is one thing to condemn this act of provocation but New Delhi should not allow such pettiness to defeat its larger objectives in the region.
Keywords: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, SAARC Summit, Rajnath Singh’s visit to Pakistan, India-Pakistan bilateral ties, terrorism issues