By Sushil Kutty
Guess they didn’t keep minutes of the cabinet meetings those days. If they had, Manish Tewari wouldn’t have been free with the Parker as Salman Khurshid was with the Mont Blanc. If one Congress leader warmed the cockles of the Congress high command, the other left a blot on its fair name. Tewari should have at least thought of Navjot Singh Sidhu whose “Bhai” Imran Khan rules Pakistan even if the “real boss” is Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Also, what if then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hadn’t ordered a surgical strike on Pakistan following 26/11, at least he didn’t have to give away a Vir Chakra for the bombed to death carcass of a gutted crow. Gallantry awards don’t come for free. But no, Manish Tewari couldn’t keep his Parker out of the ink. It was his sworn duty not to reveal what went on behind doors in the cabinet.
The then chief of the Indian Air Force wanted to fly a couple of sorties into Pakistan, and Manmohan Singh—according to Manish Tewari— acted as if he hadn’t heard. But, at least, no chance was given to the Pakistanis to gloat and keep saying “The tea was fantastic”, like they have been after shooting “Abhinandan” and his Mig-20 down.
Of course, there was talk in the Pakistan National Assembly that Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa’s knees were sounding like the wind on the barn door, but maybe the Pak Army chief in 2008 was made of sterner stuff. After all, if RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is to be taken on his word, Indian and Pakistani share the same dna!
Anyway, Manish Tewari crossed a forbidden Rubicon. He should have been circumspect, and discreet, closed mouth like a church mouse—nobody rats on family or party. Was there a cabinet decision taken not to carry out a surgical strike on Pakistan in 2008 post the 26/11 terrorist strikes?
Ajmal Kasab is now 6 feet under with a broken neck stretched, is that not retribution enough? What is Rambo in 7, Lok Kalyan Marg doing? There is no expiry date on teaching the enemy a lesson, is there? It is like an FIR, there is no statute of limitations. Hang Kasab, but that guy who did the planning—Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi—he is still there, near about Islamabad, isn’t he?
The statute of limitations, however, applies to Manish Tewari. He cannot be like the man who —long after the examinations are over and the test results are out— lament, “I should have opened the book to page 67!” Now, 13 years after the event, Tewari writes that Manmohan Singh’s “restraint” was a sign of his “weakness”.
The Tewari gist is Manmohan Singh should have been a tough cookie and eviscerated Pakistan for the 26/11 carnage. He says this in his book ‘10 Flash Points; 20 Years: National Security Situations Affecting India’. Point to note: Tewari is also indicting Congress President Sonia Gandhi for Singh’s 26/11 dereliction of national duty.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is like “didn’t we say so?” Coming so soon after Salman Khurshid’s “Hindutva=ISIS & Boko Haram”, the BJP is pretty happy with Tewari. Is Tewari one of those G-23 blokes? Maybe he takes directions from Ghulam Nabi Azad. But to divulge cabinet secrets after 13 years is vendetta cooked in olive oil—the Sicilian mafia’s favourite grease.
But why is Manish Tewari appearing as if out of sync with the Congress high command? He is a sitting MP and will remain so till 2024? Does he also want to cut to size the Gandhi family’s clout in the Congress? Ghulam Nabi Azad could be understood for losing it, to feel slighted or overlooked, but Manish Tewari?
Truly, politicians are easy to read but difficult to make out. Tewari’s fourth book is on the security challenges India faced in the last 20 years. “For a state (Pakistan) that has no qualms about brutally massacring hundreds of innocent people, restraint is not a sign of strength; it is seen as a symbol of weakness. There comes a time when actions should speak louder than words. 26/The 11th was one of those times…,” Tewari wrote.
Tewari’s “weighted opinion” is that India should have acted out a “kinetic response.” The question is what’s bugging Manish Tewari, why is he acting like there is a burr under his saddle? Don’t these Congress politicians know that bucking the Gandhi family buggy is like gutting the boat in mid sea? They will sink—hook, line and sinker. (IPA Service)