At the gala dinner at the India Today Conclave yesterday evening, poor Henry Kissinger was badgered and needled about, what else, Pakistan by the MC/host MJ Akbar. It was more the latter’s insecurities as an Indian Muslim trying to prove his patriotism than Dr K’s slightly bemused responses, that was in evidence. Kissinger did not reveal or say anything new even though Akbar kept asking him about his “deal” with Indira Gandhi in 1971, and K kept repeating his stock stuff. The fact that Kissinger said that dismantling West Pakistan was seen as not being in the US interest at the time, is no great revelation. It’s featured in his writings, even though Akbar made much of it saying this was being said for the first time. Kissinger said Pakistan was the only channel to China THIS IS PATENTLY UNTRUE. THE US NEVER NEEDED THE PAKISTAN CHANNEL TO CHINA. FROM THE 1960s THERE WAS THE COMMUNICATION CHANNEL THROUGH WARSAW, POLAND. Yes, Pakistan proved a convenience — it was easier to scoot off secretly to Beijing from Islamabad, than from Warsaw in 1971.
But at the Conclave, Kissinger’s interaction with, and especially Akbar’s amateurish provocations, were tedious in the extreme, even grating on the ear and nerve.
It is simply amazing how much time we spend with Pakistan on our minds.
What the audience should have been attentive to was Kissinger’s repeated assertions that the US-China relations will be the paramount consideration for Washington. The implication was that the US would rather cut a deal with Beijing than “partner” any country in “containing” China — a fact I have been stressing in my writings, and at every fora.