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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Indira Gandhi, P.N. Haksar were more than a match for Kissinger: Jairam Ramesh

Though U.S. President Richard Nixon and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, who died on Wednesday, had created “huge headaches” for India in 1971, former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her principal secretary P.N. Haksar were more than a match for them, Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday.

Kissinger, who died at the age of 100, was “as immensely consequential as he was hugely controversial”, Mr. Ramesh said in a post on X. Both celebrated and condemned during his life, the U.S. diplomat’s brilliance cannot be denied, added the Congress leader.

“For the last three decades, he positioned himself as a great friend and supporter of India and indeed he was. But this was not always so and in 1971 especially, President Nixon and he created huge headaches for India and thought they had us cornered,” Mr. Ramesh said in his post. “However, Indira Gandhi and P.N. Haksar proved more than a match for them. I have described the Kissinger-Haksar and Nixon-Indira Gandhi encounters with archival detail in my book ‘Intertwined Lives: PN Haksar & Indira Gandhi’,” he added.

The Congress leader also noted that Gary Bass, in his book The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide, severely indicts Kissinger for his role in the events of 1971, leading up to the creation of Bangladesh.

In another post, Mr. Ramesh said: “P.N. Haksar, while an admirer of Kissinger’s intellectual prowess, felt that he lacked moral fibre and sensitivity to democratic processes. The two never struck a rapport with each other.” He then described Haksar’s 1986 meeting with Anatoly Dobrynin, who had been the Soviet Union’s Ambassador to Washington between 1962 and 1986. “His opening words to Haksar were: ‘I am very glad to meet the man who outwitted Henry Kissinger’. Haksar replied in his most avuncular tone: ’Am I expected to be flattered?’,” Mr. Ramesh added.

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