Krishna blunders, but does not regret

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When he makes himself the object of ridicule, he makes India look ridiculous. His attempts to brush aside his gaffe only display his refusal to admit the shame he brought upon India. His reading of a wrong speech before the Security Council perhaps suggests that he is well past the age of holding responsible positions.

There is a clear distinction between making a mistake and doing something utterly ridiculous. India’s Minister for External Affairs, S.M. Krishna, announced to the world that he is unaware of this distinction. Last week, while addressing the United Nations Security Council, he read out the wrong speech. What he read out was the text of the Portuguese Foreign Minister, who had spoken before him.  Krishna did not even realize that he was reading the wrong speech till the staff of the Indian Mission to the UN stepped in to give him his own speech. If the goof-up was shameful, the occasion was important.  Krishna was the first Indian Minister to address the Security Council in nearly two decades. There are a couple of points that are evident from this inexcusable gaffe from a Minister holding a crucial portfolio.  Krishna is neither the first nor the only Minister, who does not write his own speech. This is understandable, and people more eminent than Krishna have used speech writers. But all public figures, who have other people to write their speeches, read the speeches before they deliver them before an audience. This is the basic homework expected from a responsible Minister. There are reasons to suspect that India’s Foreign Minister, even when he was addressing the Security Council, did not go through this elementary preparation. He thus held himself up as an object of ridicule.

The matter is, however, a little more important than the taint it has brought upon  Krishna. He is, after all, a Union Cabinet Minister and, therefore, represents India and its people. When he makes himself the object of ridicule, he makes India look ridiculous. His attempts to brush aside his gaffe only display his refusal to admit the shame he brought upon India. The Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, should not treat this incident in as cavalier a manner as his Foreign Minister has done. The incident should make him ponder the processes of Cabinet formation and the abilities of those who are being appointed Ministers and are being chosen to represent the country in international fora. The incident should encourage the Prime Minister to consider a more radical reshuffle of his Cabinet than what he attempted a few weeks ago.  Krishna’s tenure as Foreign Minister has so far been singularly undistinguished. His reading of a wrong speech before the Security Council perhaps suggests that he is well past the age of holding responsible positions.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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