M A I N   N E W S

Tharoor disowns remark on Nehru
Ashok Tuteja/Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 10
Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, who has become a source of embarrassment for the UPA government, today disowned his reported comments in which he dubbed the Nehruvian foreign policy as a “moralistic running commentary”.

The young minister, who is already making headlines for all the wrong reasons due to his ‘twitting’ habit, rather charged the media with doing a disservice to the country with “inaccurate, dishonest, irresponsible and tendentious reporting”.

Tharoor this morning spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over phone and explained that the media had misinterpreted the comments he had made as chairman of a seminar at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) on Friday. He also spoke on the issue to Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who advised him to clarify his position without any delay.

The former UN diplomat subsequently called a press conference at the South Block at which the tension was quite palpable on his face as he sought to defend himself in the face of fresh demands by some Congressmen for action against him.

Tharoor was at pains to explain how the media had inaccurately reported his comments made after British MP Lord Bhikhu Parekh delivered his lecture at the ICWA.

“Lord Bhikhu Parekh’s speech on ‘India’s Place in the World’ was an hour-long and largely positive analysis of the major trends in Indian foreign policy. While he expressed some criticisms of past policies, these were not inappropriate in an academic setting dedicated to free discussion of global issues, and in any case were expressed in constructive terms,” he said in a statement.

“In my chairman’s remarks at the conclusion of the event, and while summarising Lord Parekh’s main points, I stated that Indian foreign policy drew from our sense of civilisation, and the extraordinary contribution by Mahatma Gandhi and Nehruji’s articulation of our civilisational heritage, both enhanced India’s standing in the world but also earned us the negative reputation of running a moralistic commentary on world affairs, that has come through very clearly in your (Parekh’s) speech. I went on to point out that there was more to Nehruvian policies than that, alluding to the use of force in Goa as an example of realpolitik in Indian policy,” the minister said, seeking to set the record straight.

Accusing the media of distorting his comments, the minister said, “Irresponsible reporting may briefly gratify a few sensation-seekers in the media, but they do no credit to the need for informed discussion of foreign policy issues in our democracy. India deserves better. So, frankly, do I.”

Asked if he agreed that such controversies embarrass his party, Tharoor said: “If you continue to misreport like this, clearly people are not going to judge me by what I say but what you all are reporting. You are the only one who misreported and you all owe an apology to the country for misreporting.”

This is not the first time that Tharoor has courted controversy for his remarks. He was recently admonished by his senior and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna for his comments on his ‘tweeter’, questioning the stricter visa norms put in place by the government. He was also in the eye of the storm for his “cattle class” remarks in the context of austerity steps taken by Central ministers, like flying economy class.



HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |