Aug 18, 2019, 08.21 AM ISTPakistan should stop terror to start talks: Syed AkbaruddinHighlightsThe decision to go and rebut the claims made by China and Pakistan was triggered by Syed Akbaruddin’s discussions with foreign minister S Jaishankar and denoted close coordination between the minister and officialsThe decision to take questions from Pakistani journalists was meant to convey that India was not afraid of taking anybody on when it came to revocation of J&K special statusMost Indian diplomats can be excessively restrained in their conduct, and measured in their responses to a fault, but India’s Permanent Representative to UN Syed Akbaruddin was anything but that when he turned the UN press stakeout into an almost gladiatorial contest with hostile journalists, many of them Pakistanis raring to have a go at him.
And yet, Akbaruddin emerged not just unscathed but also prevailed over all that was thrown at him with the same consummate ease with which he fielded questions from reporters in Shastri Bhawan as MEA spokesperson.
The video of his impromptu shaking of hands with Pakistani journalists threatened to break the Internet and he himself trended on Twitter well into Saturday. Akbaruddin’s performance is all the more astonishing considering, as sources said, he had not more than 10 minutes to prepare for it.
The decision to go and rebut the claims made by Akbaruddin’s Chinese and Pakistani counterparts, Zhang Jun and Maleeha Lodhi respectively, was triggered by his discussions with foreign minister S Jaishankar. It denoted, as a source put it, close coordination between the minister and officials. The two had to think on their feet once the Chinese ambassador started to speak. Jaishankar spoke to Akbaruddin after the Pakistan envoy spoke and briefed him about the content and trajectory to follow in his remarks.
Both Jaishankar and Akbaruddin then felt it was important to quickly refute the statements made by the two and a message was sent out to the journalists that the Indian ambassador too would be speaking. Sources said the decision to even take questions was taken as a natural corollary of being the representative of a democratic country. It also offered a stunning contrast to how the Chinese and Pakistani envoys refused to take any question from the press. Akbaruddin said he was going to take 5 questions. He ended up answering 7.
The decision to take questions from Pakistani journalists was meant to convey that India was not afraid of taking anybody on when it came to revocation of J&K special status. As a source said, it was also meant to reflect India’s confidence in its position and the support for it at the UN.
And to those wondering why he said “cut me some slack”, it was probably his way of softening up the journalists before they let it rip. While Akbaruddin has served as MEA spokesperson, this was the first time he was effectively holding a press conference at the UN.
Also ReadIBSA Fund example of innovative solutions to overcome common problems: Syed AkbaruddinMomentum lies with India in ICJ election: Syed AkbaruddinUN reforms inadequate for challenges world faces: Syed AkbaruddinUse sanctions as weapon against terrorists in Afghanistan: Syed AkbaruddinCommenting feature is disabled in your country/region.Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service