Sticky issues for new ministers
So Pranab Mukherjee is the new foreign minister of India. A K Antony takes over his defence portfolio. [They didn’t find anyone, unfortunately, to take over the home ministry from Shivraj Patil]
It was the M K Narayanan, the national security advisor, who gave Mukherjee his welcome gift. His comments of India not having ‘clinching evidence’ to convince an Indian judge got interpreted as India not having clinching evidence at all. The Pakistanis celebrated, of course. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had to step in and announce that the celebrations were unwarranted as India did, after all, have ‘credible evidence’ against Pakistan. Pranab Mukherjee, fresh from stating that the ISI has penetrated the Indian army, will have to figure out what to do next.
A K Antony, known for his honesty (so we are told), got his gift from his predecessor. India, Mukherjee announced, will not allow middlemen in defence deals and get foreign arms suppliers to sign integrity pacts to the effect. It’s for Antony to work this one out.