Brajesh Mishra passes away

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by nrj, Sep 28, 2012.

  1. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Brajesh Mishra, the country's first National Security Adviser who played a key role in foreign policy matters and pushed for deeper engagement with the US, died here today following heart ailment.

    Mishra, who would have turned 84 tomorrow, was declared brought dead at the Fortis hospital in Vasant Kunj in south Delhi, at around 9.50 pm, hospital sources said.

    He was suffering from coronary artery problem for some time. He had asked his domestic help to bring his dinner but was found in an unconscious condition. The security guards were summoned and he was rushed to the hospital.
    A career diplomat, Mishra was Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee before he was appointed NSA. He had earlier retired as Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry afte having served as India's Permanent representative to the UN.

    He had played a crucial role in assisting Vajpeyee during the Kargil conflict in 1999.

    After the fall of the NDA government in 2004 and the fading away of Vajpayee from the political scene, Mishra distanced himself from BJP and often criticised its stand on various foreign policy issues.

    He also batted for the Indo-US nuclear deal when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was negotiating with Washington and attacked BJP for opposing it.

    Brajesh Mishra dead | Business Standard
     
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  3. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    [​IMG]

    India's first National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra, who died here tonight, was a pivotal figure in shaping foreign policy during NDA government and a troubleshooter of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

    A career diplomat, he had served as India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and as Ambassador to Indonesia. He retired as Secretary in the External Affairs Ministry.

    He had played a key role in India's diplomatic efforts to contain the adverse reaction from developed countries to India's testing of a nuclear device in May, 1998.

    Born on September 29, 1928, Mishra's father Dwarka Prasad Mishra, former Congress Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and considered close to Indira Gandhi.

    Mishra joined BJP in 1991 only to quit it seven years later to become Vajpayee's powerful Principal Secretary.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    RIP.

    He did some good and sometimes he was a loose cannon!

    But he was a sharp bargainer.

    Very pro US.
     
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  5. maomao

    maomao Veteran Hunter of Maleecha Senior Member

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    RIP!

    Truly is a Great Man !!
     
  6. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    RIP.........................:rip:
     
  7. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Chanakya has died:sad::sad::sad:
     
  8. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    good for india
     
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  9. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

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    Rest in Peace
     
  10. Zebra

    Zebra Senior Member Senior Member

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    Rest In Peace.
     
  11. Spindrift

    Spindrift Regular Member

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    He was a good man..
    May he Rest in Peace...
     
  12. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    One sharp person. RIP.
     
  13. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    The right man to be Vajpayee's adviser!

    RIP.
     
  14. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    True, but he was given National security advisor's jod, ABV give him oath of secrecy of office(since no such posts exists that time) plus he didnt had any formal experiance in security matters, he did good job, after NDA govt, he supported UPA govt decisions on security matters. That is to say he was above party politics, for him national security matters.
     
  15. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Brajesh Mishra’s greatest achievement was the manner in which he exercised power

    The passing of Brajesh Mishra has evoked memories of his role in organising the Pokhran II nuclear tests.

    But what we sometimes forget is how extraordinarily powerful he was when he served as Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee’s principal secretary and the country’s first National Security Advisor (NSA).

    -
    His grip over the government was so absolute that it was bitterly resented by many in the BJP who complained that the wrong old bald guy had become India’s second most powerful man: not L.K. Advani but Brajesh Mishra.
    -
    -- A popular joke from that era captures the aura of power that surrounded Mishra. When it emerged that the terrorists who attacked Parliament in 2001 had intended to take the Cabinet hostage, people wondered what would have happened.
    -
    -- “Oh, nothing at all,” went the punch-line. “Brajesh Mishra would have continued running the government as he already does.”
    -
    -- Though he began as a diplomat, politics was in Brajesh Mishra’s blood. His father, D.P. Mishra, a powerful chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, was one of Indira Gandhi’s chief strategists during the 1969 Congress split and was nicknamed Chanakya.
    -
    -- When Brajesh retired from the IFS, he longed to follow his father into politics. But by then, the senior Mishra had parted bitterly from Mrs Gandhi so Brajesh joined the BJP, where he toiled away to no great distinction. This changed in 1998 when he was discovered by A.B. Vajpayee, who admired the Chanakya-like cunning that Brajesh had inherited from his father.
    -
    "Not since P.N. Haksar in the early days of Mrs Gandhi’s reign had a civil servant made the entire government of India – including Cabinet ministers – defer to his brilliance and his authority."

    -- When Vajpayee became Prime Minister, he put Mishra in charge of his PMO and asked him to organise the nuclear tests, a decision so sensitive that it was kept secret from most of the Cabinet. As national security advisor, Brajesh also revived and strengthened India’s intelligence agencies and created a parallel power centre to the foreign office, effectively destabilising every foreign minister.
    -
    -- His power derived from his closeness to Vajpayee. He was at the Prime Minister’s residence most mornings and every single evening, becoming a charter member of the family. Such was his understanding of the famously uncommunicative PM that Vajpayee had only to gesture for Mishra to understand what needed to be done.
    -
    -- Vajpayee trusted Mishra implicitly and admired his ability to concentrate all power in the PMO, a difficult feat to accomplish in a coalition and especially when L.K. Advani functioned as an alternative source of influence.
    -
    -- But Mishra was happy to take on Advani, did not mind being loathed by him, and often functioned as the PM’s hatchet man, distancing Vajpayee from unpopular decisions, a manoeuvre that allowed the PM to feign bewildered ignorance when Advani came complaining.
    -
    -- The obituaries have focused on Mishra’s considerable foreign policy achievements. But his greatest achievement was the manner in which he exercised power. Not since P.N. Haksar in the early days of Mrs Gandhi’s reign had a civil servant made the entire government of India – including Cabinet ministers – defer to his brilliance and his authority.
    -
    -- When Manmohan Singh took over as PM, he asked Mishra to stay on as principal secretary. Brajesh declined, saying, “My loyalty is to my boss (Vajpayee)!” But he repaid Singh’s kindness a few years later by coming out strongly in favour of the nuclear deal and making his final break with L.K. Advani and the BJP.

    http://virsanghvi.com/Article-Details.aspx?key=848

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  16. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    It was afternoon by the time we landed at Hosea Kutako International Airport, weary and bedraggled after a particularly long trans-continental flight. Windhoek looked bleak, bathed in bright sunlight, as Air India 001 taxied along the tarmac. Everybody looked forward to checking into the hotel which would be our home for the next three days, for a shower and a snooze before the official reception and dinner scheduled later that evening. So did I till the man in the lone first row seat, right in the nose of the aircraft, turned around and rasped his order at me, sitting three rows behind. “See me after checking in, there’s some work to be done.” With Brajesh Mishra around, there always was work to be done.

    There was a large crowd of Namibians, with a large number of children, the latter in their Sunday best, which had turned up at the airport to greet us. It was rather unusual — a handful of officials representing the host Government and Indian mission staff usually receive a visiting Indian Prime Minister and his entourage. At Windhoek, we had Namibian men and women, boys and girls, greeting us — smiling and waving — as a band, clumsily but enthusiastically, played a Bollywood chart-topper of 1970s vintage. As we walked up to the low airport building, an elderly person pointed at Brajesh Mishra, who was just ahead of me, and soon he was mobbed by dancing, singing, chanting Namibians. Brajesh Mishra beamed at them and patted the children who offered him drooping flowers. It was an amazing sight, not the least because he was averse to either smiling or displaying affection in public.

    Later, I learned that Brajesh Mishra was something of a folk hero for Namibians (memories of him may have faded by now, but this was less than a decade after Namibia’s independence from South Africa) for his sterling role as UN Commissioner from 1982 to 1987. Many of those Namibians who had heard and read about his contribution to fulfilling their aspiration for freedom had turned out at the airport and the Government had relented under popular pressure to set aside protocol. Even the Prime Minister, who stood momentarily ignored, was amazed by the raucously warm welcome for his Principal Secretary and National Security Adviser — Brajesh Mishra wore both the hats with stunning dexterity — and said, to nobody in particular, “Brajeshji ka kamaal dekhiye!”

    There was a lot to be learned about and from Brajesh Mishra —or Brajeshji as he would allow those whom he trusted and liked to call him — whom I had accidentally met on a winter day at IIC where I had gone for lunch along with my then editor Vinod Mehta. If I recall correctly, it was a Saturday and we were trying to negotiate our way through cane chairs on the lawn outside the bar. Brajeshji was sitting in one of them, legs crossed, reading the International Herald Tribune and oblivious to the chatter around him. He had just retired as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs and there was talk of his joining the BJP which had raised more than a few eyebrows: After all, he was the son of Dwarka Prasad Mishra, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and the original ‘Chanakya’ in the Congress who was trusted by both Jawaharlal Nehru and Mrs Indira Gandhi; if at all he had to join politics, he should have opted for the Congress. That apart, in those days every new entrant to the BJP made news —General JFR ‘Jake’ Jacob, General KP Candeth (what were these men with clipped haw-haw accents doing in a Hindi-bhaashi party?) and Brajeshji was no exception — in many ways, there was greater intrigue attached to his reported move.

    Vinod, who could never tame his curiosity, dragged me along to where Brajeshji was sitting and introduced himself. Brajeshji looked up at him, praised The Pioneer (“I read your paper, it’s quite nice”) and then added, “I quite like this chap who writes for you… what’s his name… Kanchan… yes, Kanchan Gupta… with a name like that, Bengali, isn’t he?” Vinod grinned and said, “Here’s the chap,” and pointed at me. “Oh hello!” he said, and we shook hands. Conversation over, Brajeshji went back to reading the International Herald Tribune. We had our tipple and fodder and went back to work. Some days later we carried the story, as did other papers, about Brajeshji joining the BJP where he was made head of the Foreign Affairs Cell. Over the next six years I met him regularly, and got to know him well — actually, sufficiently well to be called his ‘pet’, including by those who thought both of us were interlopers. There’s no need to name them; nearly all of them are either dead or have rendered themselves utterly irrelevant to even bother about.

    Brajeshji had a certain elan, a style all his own. He would drive down to the BJP headquarters every morning in his Zen, stride up to the library, order his cup of coffee, unfold his copy of the International Herald Tribune (nobody dared touch it till he was done with the paper) and, having read it, hold court till 1 pm when he would drive down to IIC for lunch. He was an excellent and patient teacher for those who cared to learn from him: He would hold forth on current issues in foreign and security affairs, meet foreign delegations and embassy officials, prepare strategy notes, brief Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani on Jammu & Kashmir (it was a happening thing those days with the US heavily involved via a busybody called Robin Raphel) and accompany both leaders for meetings with Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. He was powerful in the party hierarchy although he was a recent entrant, and he wielded his power without showing off or throwing his weight around. At every National Executive meeting, he would steer a resolution on Foreign Affairs and brief the media on why the party felt it was important enough to take note of.

    I recall how he went through the chapters on foreign affairs and security affairs in the draft of the 1996 election manifesto prepared by Jaswant Singh and me, striking out a word here, adding a phrase there. There was much dispute over the clause on whether the BJP would opt for a nuclear test if voted to power. Crafting the three sentences was proving to be impossible, with each draft being rejected again and again. Finally, a meeting was organised to thrash out the issue. LK Advani, as party president, chaired the meeting which was attended by AB Vajpayee, Jaswant Singh and Pramod Mahajan. I was the note taker — the piano player, if you wish. The leaders went around in circles, and tea had been served twice without the animated discussion taking us towards a resolution. Finally, Brajeshji cracked the riddle and came up with a formulation that was acceptable to all; Jaswant Singh added a couple of words to make it suitably vague. As he put it: “We don’t want the world to know how soon we are going to test the Bomb.” After the leaders had left and the room was empty, fresh coffee was ordered and Brajeshji and I lit up our cigarettes, inhaling smoke and exhaling satisfaction over a job well done. “I hope you learned something today?” he asked me, tapping the ash off his cigarette, a smile hovering on his otherwise stern face.

    As it happened, the BJP was in power for less than a fortnight in 1996 and it was too short a time to conduct nuclear tests. But that formulation in the manifesto had been noticed and alerted foreign Governments: The Americans were keen to know what the BJP’s plans were, and so were the Chinese. Brajeshji kept everybody guessing. By the time Shakti happened and Buddha smiled on May 11, 1998, taking the world by surprise, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister, heading the NDA Government, and Brajeshji was his Principal Secretary and National Security Adviser. Jaswant Singh was Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, LK Advani was Home Minister, Yashwant Sinha was Finance Minister and Pramod Mahajan was Political Adviser to the Prime Minister. The nuclear tests of May 11-13 marked a tectonic shift in India’s strategic policy.

    The nuclear tests also heralded the diplomatic isolation of nuclear India by preachy Western Governments, especially the Clinton Administration, who couldn’t believe that they had been hoodwinked. The situation posed a huge challenge to the fledgling NDA Government. To AB Vajpayee’s credit, it was converted into an immense opportunity with Brajeshji helping craft the Resurgent India Policy with which we broke free of our Nehruvian past and got rid of our inherited bogus consensus, and forged a wider engagement with the world on, for the first time, our terms. Brajeshji initiated diplomatic moves with the US, Russia and China with amazing ease and finesse, drawing upon his vast network of friends built over decades as a career diplomat posted at the UN. Statecraft acquired an entirely new meaning. A year or so later Jaswant Singh, who had by then moved in as Minister for External Affairs, initiated a full-throttle thrust on building India-US relations in what has become a textbook example of diplomatic engagement leading to the end of decades of estrangement — his friend Strobe Talbott played a big role too, although that was much after praise came from Madeleine Albright, not known for praising anybody but herself.

    Working out of his sparsely furnished office in the PMO, Brajeshji gave form and shape to India’s nuclear doctrine and posture, creating a startlingly new security architecture for India and helping forge an all-new foreign policy that was shorn of shibboleths that had made us captives of a worldview that had long ceased to exist. The Kandahar hijack, the Kargil war, the fidayeen attack on Parliament House and many such incidents would have left anybody else feeling defeated, but not Brajeshji. He seized upon each setback to re-energise his quest for securing India’s national interest, arguing the case with greater conviction and at times fury. In the PMO, he was referred to as ‘Princ Sec’ (pronounced ‘prince sek’). And indeed he was the prince of the office, running it with clockwork precision, harnessing the best of each person and setting a tough daily routine through example. He would march in every morning at 10.30 am, never a minute late, never a minute early, work till 1.15 pm when he would leave for lunch, and return again at 3 pm to work till 6.30 pm. He would walk past my room on the ground floor of South Block, his shoes smartly clicking on the flagstone-paved corridor. I could have set my watch to his arrivals and departures.

    I had the privilege of not only knowing Brajeshji but receiving much more than my rightful share of his affection and trust. I was a diligent student, he was a stern and demanding teacher. He gave tough assignments and set impossible deadlines. He gave me extraordinary breaks by deputing me to the National Security Advisory Board as the PMO’s representative, co-opting me in the High Level Task Force on India-Nepal Relations, asking me to prepare executive summaries of classified documents, and including me in meetings where I would listen and absorb and learn and file away information that I gleaned in the crevices of my mind. “You have to be a good keeper of secrets. You must never tell. You should not be tempted to say what you shouldn’t say,” he once told me, “This is the mantra of a good strategist who places the national interest above all. Success will follow if you are resolute.”

    Brajeshji and I shared a common birthday. For many years I would call him on September 29 and wish him a long, happy life. He would grunt, pause, and then say, “Tumko bhi… Have you stopped smoking?” No, Brajeshji, I’d say, what about you? “Pagal ho?” and much chortling would follow. This September 29, that conversation was not to be. On Friday night I lost a mentor, a teacher and a friend.

    (The writer is a senior journalist based in Delhi)
    A master strategist with a daring mind
     
  17. marshal panda

    marshal panda Regular Member

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    = First K.Subrahmanyam and now Brijesh Mishra. India's stock of security minded bureaucrats,is being depleted fast. Antim Pranam to the Bramhalin.
     
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  18. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    he was so powerful, that he used to decided who meet ABV.
     
  19. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Mishra's final tribute to Atal

    Brajesh Mishra died the way he lived, articulating Atal Bihari Vajpayee's opinions and beliefs right until the first Indian national security adviser's last days.

    The untold story of why Mishra abruptly ended his opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal five years ago was perhaps his final tribute to the country's unorthodox BJP Prime Minister before Vajpayee drifted into tragic incapacity caused by multiple strokes.

    In 2007, Shekhar Tiwari, a lifelong RSS follower from Washington, was visiting New Delhi and Vajpayee invited him to breakfast. Tiwari had hosted both Vajpayee and L.K. Advani in the US, going back to a time when India was so much of a one party-ruled state that the Indian embassy in Washington would not even send anyone to the airport to receive Opposition leaders or maintain any contact with those leaders while they were in America.
    Vajpayee invited Mishra also to this breakfast at his home because Tiwari, one of the founders of "Overseas Friends of the BJP", was instrumental in arranging the NDA government's courtship with the American Jewish lobby, in which the Prime Minister's principal secretary was the groom. That was when Vajpayee's PMO did not trust the Indian mission in Washington to meet the demands of this courtship, which Mishra essentially viewed as a political mission rather than a diplomatic one.

    Tiwari has been ' and still is ' an ardent advocate of intimate engagement between Washington and New Delhi. So when Ranjan Bhattacharya, Vajpayee's foster son-in-law, walked into this breakfast, he asked Tiwari why he was supporting a nuclear deal which brought no benefits for India. Bhattacharya was, of course, reflecting the BJP's opposition to the deal. And Mishra's too, at that time.

    But before Tiwari could answer, Vajpayee butted in. "Phayda hai," Vajpayee said in his style with a firmness that the former Prime Minister uses but rarely, only when he is absolutely convinced of something. "Bahut phayda hoga." (There are benefits. There will be many benefits.)

    Vajpayee had never expressed his support for the nuclear deal in public. His health was already failing, but Mishra got the message. For Vajpayee, the end of India's nuclear winter has been an obsession since his early days in the Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the BJP's predecessor.


    When Vajpayee was Prime Minister for 13 days he summoned the country's nuclear scientists on his very second day in office and asked how much time they would need to conduct a nuclear test since the weaponisation process had been complete for several years.

    Mishra realised from Vajpayee's unambiguous reaction to his foster son-in-law's deprecating tone about the nuclear deal, implicit in the question to Tiwari, that the former Prime Minister viewed the deal as the logical next step to the Pokhran tests the NDA government had ordered in 1998.

    Shortly thereafter, Mishra ended his opposition to the nuclear deal and stunned the BJP by coming out in support of it. Many interpretations have been given to Mishra's change of views, but it was his way of preserving Vajpayee's nuclear legacy in the fading days of his life as a political leader who rose to be the only non-Congress Prime Minister to serve a full five-year term in office.

    For Mishra, personal loyalty to Vajpayee, not to his party, was above everything else. On the Prime Minister's special flight from Durban to New Delhi after the Non-Aligned Summit in South Africa in September 1998, I was discussing with Mishra an issue that cannot yet be divulged because it would break confidences.

    I strongly disagreed with Mishra's action on this particular issue and did not hesitate to tell him so not as a journalist, but taking the liberty of having been his neighbour and walking partner for eight years when he was just another retired ambassador living in east Delhi.

    We were standing in front of the Prime Minister's cabin on the Air India 747 aircraft and chatting. "My sole loyalty is to that man in there," Mishra pointed to the closed door of Vajpayee's bedroom. "Can you imagine what will happen if I don't do this? He will be torn to pieces when we land in Delhi."

    The Prime Minister's principal secretary was referring to the weakness of the BJP-led government which had come to power six months earlier with a slender majority and the tantrums of an erratic partner, Jayalalithaa.

    When Manmohan Singh arrived at his office on May 22, 2004, after being sworn in as Prime Minister, the very first question he asked was: "Where is Brajeshji?" One of the officers in the PMO told Singh that Mishra had cleared his office and left for good the previous day since he was a political appointee and not a government servant.

    "But he is a patriot," the new Prime Minister retorted. "I want to speak to him." The officer connected Mishra on the phone and Singh requested Mishra to brief him. "I can do that only if Atalji permits," Mishra replied.

    Vajpayee immediately agreed and the next day the principal secretary and national security adviser who had just demitted office briefed the incoming Prime Minister. The UPA's cabinet was still a work in progress and the likes of Lalu Prasad were clamouring for key portfolios like home.

    Mishra told me later that one piece of advice he gave Singh was that the Prime Minister should bear in mind that India was a nuclear weapons state and the four critical portfolios ' home, defence, external affairs and finance 'should remain with a national party with a pan-Indian view and a worldview.

    It is not known how much weight Singh gave to this bit of advice from Mishra, but the Congress retained the big four jobs and has refused to part with any of these four portfolios despite its allies eyeing them for their leaders, some of whom are among the senior-most politicians in the country.


    I once asked Mishra if he had missed anything in his eventful life and if he had any regrets. He recalled his meeting with Mao Zedong on May Day in 1970 on the rostrum of Tiananmen Square. Mishra was charge d'affaires in Beijing, the Indian mission having been without an ambassador as a fallout of the border conflict with China.

    It was the first time China's all-powerful Chairman had spoken to an Indian diplomat since the brief one-month war in 1962. Mao shook Mishra's hand on the rostrum and told him: "We cannot go on quarrelling like this. We must become friends again. We will become friends again."

    Since Mao's every word was command for the Chinese people and government, the charge d'affaires understood the historic import of those three sentences. Mishra believed that if East Pakistan had not descended into a separatist crisis within a year forcing China to side with Pakistan, one of only two friends Beijing had ' Albania being the other ' in the whole wide world, a Sino-Indian rapprochement would have followed immediately during Mao's lifetime.

    As it happened, the process had to wait till 1988 when Rajiv Gandhi visited Beijing. Mishra had already retired and his great regret was that the reconciliation did not start during his tenure in Beijing.

    http://in.news.yahoo.com/mishras-final-tribute-atal-222022589.html

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    Last edited: Sep 30, 2012
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  20. nrj

    nrj Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Rightly said. We are poorer as a nation without patriotic & unbiased men like Subbu sir & Mishra.

    No machinery or computer can fill the hole left in our strategic security after their departure.
     
  21. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    2 paras that show that relationships need not be the way we perceive them to be! Be it between BJP and Congress or between India and China.

     

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