No end of embarrassment

An acronymically-challenged Pakistan is always good for a laugh. In the wake of the recent Xi visit to Islamabad, RANDI — Research and Development International — was founded with some fanfare and tasked, presumably, to research issues of foreign policy and military concern to the two countries. It is another matter that potential staffers will be saddled with their intimate association with RANDI (whore in Hindustani!). It puts me in mind of an embarrassment I saved the Pakistan Foreign Ministry-funded Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad. It was December 1982 and this Institute, founded with an assist from the army, by the good natured Brigadier (Ret) Noor Hussain (whose claim to fame was that he was ADC to Jinnah), ex-Lucknow, who died four years ago — was staging a coming out party as it were by hosting what was billed as “The First International Conference on Peace and Security in South Asia”. It was a grand affair with the Indian invitees — the redoubtable IK Gujral and K. Subrahmanyam, and yours truly, given star billing. The early afternoon I reached the Marriott Hotel, where the guests were lodged and which was also the Conference venue, I discovered on entering my room a beautiful leather folder with conference papers with the name ‘Pakistan Institute of Strategic Studies’ proudly embossed in gold. Walking down into the lobby a bit later I encountered the Brigadier and asked him if he had seen the folder. He asked if something was wrong. Not, I replied, if you didn’t care about the unfortunate acronym PISS! Hussain, who had scheduled the then CMLA (Chief Martial Law Administrator), dictator in other words, General Zia ul-Haq, for an evening with the invitees to the Conference, was mortified, thanked me profusely, and rushed for his aides, instructing them immediately to remove all folders and stationery with the offending PISS on them from the invitee rooms and to “destroy” them. The question is this: what will the erstwhile PISS do now that RANDI backed by the prestigious Tsinghua University, is on the scene doing much the same work? A question of working the same side of the street, no?

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in India's Pakistan Policy, Pakistan, Pakistan military, society, South Asia. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to No end of embarrassment

  1. AAYUSH's says:

    Ha Ha Ha HA ………….

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