The annual brunch held over the weekend at his residence for those involved in, and dealing with, foreign and defence policies — with DRDO and all armed Services (except the CAS, ACM Raha) and Intel chiefs in attendance, and all concerned Department secretaries too present, was as usual otherwise also well populated. It allowed talking of “business” with persons in the loop. The curtest of the lot was R Chidambaram who, understandably didn’t want to speak to me considering I have called him the greatest disaster to befall the Indian nuclear weapons program, of course, but more generally the nuclear energy programme as well.
Shivshankar Menon told me that he had informed the PM that he’d be leaving his post come May whatever the results of the forthcoming general elections and even if the UPA-III manages to materialize. I instinctively felt that underlying this decision of the NSA was a sentiment best expressed by Richard Nixon in a press interaction after losing the presidential elections in 1960 to John F Kennedy: “You won’t have me to kick around anymore”(!), which would more reasonably accord with Manmohan Singh’s relieved feelings, no doubt!