Messrs. Ministers

The Indian and Pakistani Foreign Ministers met in Islamabad yesterday, to discuss… well, whatever gets discussed at Indo-Pak Foreign Ministerial meetings. I happened to watch live the joint press conference after the meeting between SM Krishna and SM Qureshi (SMK and SMQ … isn’t that neat!)

The ministerial meeting lasted for more than six hours, and one can only speculate as to what SMK and SMQ did in chambers for six hours, because their statements were pablum. The same old references to mutual concerns, trust-building measures, ‘useful’ discussions, ‘productive’ meetings, and half a dozen other terms that haven’t changed in half a century. By the end of the statements, though, they had slyly slipped in the inconsequential detail that nothing specific was agreed upon – not even a timeline for something specific to emerge from these talks (or even whether there should be a timeline).

The statements by the ministers were excruciatingly slow and laboured. The only interesting thing happened in the Q&A session. The first question was by a Pakistani journalist. He asked the ministers what they needed six hours to come out with a mix-and-match of previous statements for. That being the high point of the press-conference, the remainder of the event withered away into oblivion… meaning I changed the channel.

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