He called him weakest ever

He returned the favor questioning his moral authority

His cohorts called him sad and helpless

His loudmouths returned the favor calling him disappointed and disillusioned

So what exactly were they thinking when Leader of the Opposition and former BJP President L.K. Advani called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ?

The PTI reports:

Concerned about the safety of Indians residing in wildfire-hit US state of California, Leader of the Opposition LK Advani today spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to enquire about their well being. Advani telephoned Singh to know whether the Government had any information about Indians affected by the raging fire in southern California and any steps being taken to ensure their safety.

The ostensible reason for Mr. Advani’s concern that prompted a phone call

California has a sizeable Indian population, majority of them businessmen from Gujarat.

But there probably was more to the call than concerns of a distant wildfire, what with a political firestorm raging in the capital. How do we know this, well the Prime Minister promised to call back

The Prime Minister informed Advani that he did not have any information off-hand and would get back to him

Yesterday Offstumped had speculated on possible scenarios that might emerge with the Left and UNPA coming together on the Indo-US Nuclear deal. Offstumped had observed that an optimistic but less probable scenario was the UPA seizing on Brajesh Mishra’s comments of a possible meeting ground for the BJP and the UPA on the Indo-US Nuclear Deal. In the last few days multiple op-ed columns in the media have called upon Manmohan Singh to reach out to the BJP setting aside the acrimony to secure the nation’s interests. Nitin writing in the Acorn highlighted once again the damage to India’s credibility that is inevitable if the deal goes down the toilet as is evident from the current state of affairs.

The move by Mr. Advani in calling the Prime Minister directly, instead of the letter diplomacy that he has been engaging in of late ,is a signal and an important one. Despite the acrimony and the personalized attacks, the Government and the principal Opposition are still on talking terms.

While it is still early days one cannot rule out a track two diplomatic effort to bring the two together on the Nuclear Deal. The cause for optimism are the efforts by the US India Political Action Committee, USINPAC.

Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi must ponder on the question on how generations of Indians to come will judge them on the damage to India’s credibility.

Was it too difficult to set aside domestic political compulsions to reach out to the principal opposition on an issue of “supreme national interest” ?

Mr. Advani made an important gesture that they can still be on talking terms.

Will Dr. Singh reciprocate with some terms to talk ?

http://offstumped.nationalinterest.in/2007/10/24/telephone-diplomacy/#post-comments

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