The relationship also featured what appears to have been a rather un-orchestrated summit, one between a new military leader and an old political veteran that was perhaps unique as much for its chemistry and spontaneity as for its lack of publicity. The scene was the funeral of President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya in the summer of Many foreign leaders had come to Nairobi to pay tribute to that pioneer of African independence. Among the prominent personalities who arrived at short notice were the prime minister of India and the president of Pakistan.
The two had never met each other before. Possibly as a measure of prudence, they placed the Aga Khan between them The obsequies and orations continued for several hours. The distinguished foreign mourners at first sat in dignified silence, but eventually began to engage in discreet chit-chat with those seated near them. Gradually their banter included all three. To the distant but watchful eyes of Indias resident envoy, here the events chronicler, the first exchanges between Desai and Zia seemed brief and cursory. But after some time they got into a conversation and soon were talking directly, across the Ismaili chief sitting between them.
At the end of the ceremony, when the envoy went up to his prime minister to escort him to his waiting car, he was told that the General Sahib would be coming with them. It is not usual for previously unacquainted heads of state and government to travel together so spontaneously in a third country. But, as the car proceeded slowly through the crowded streets to Desais hotel, the envoy, squeezed in with the generals ADC on the front seat, could discern that an India-Pakistan summit had commenced in the back. At the hotel the two leaders went straight to Desais suite where they remained closeted for a considerable time.
Their respective delegations arrived and hung around the corridors, not knowing exactly what they were expected to do. Despite his protestations that the prime ministers diet regime had been notified to him clearly and the president was observing the Ramadan fast, the envoy was persuaded to go inside and enquire if any refreshments were needed. This he did, but the summiteers engaged in relaxed conversation made it clear that they did not want any intrusion.
Eventually the two men emerged and were surrounded by their entourages. A smiling Desai accompanied a beaming Zia to the elevator, and saw him off with great aplomb. Although unaware of what had transpired at their meeting, the envoy could sense its friendly vibrations. In keeping with subcontinental traditions, President Zia extended a courtly deference to the eighty-two-year-old prime minister, addressing him frequently as sir with a toothy smile which later became his trademark.
On his part Prime Minister Desai shed his usually dour demeanour and responded with unexpected warmth. What happened at their meeting may be known only through confidential records if any were made by the close associates of the two leaders. What seems clear is that both were still wary in of the much more charismatic and long-serving rulers they had recently replaced, even though Indira Gandhi had been politically discredited in the previous years election and Bhutto was already under arrest in Pakistan.
Bhutto was executed in the following spring of by the Zia government despite pleas for clemency from many leaders and governments around the world. One which made no such plea was India, the Desai government taking the view that the matter was an internal affair of Pakistan. Whether or not the previous summers summit had any role in this can only be a subject of speculation.
A variety of political factors contributed to the relaxed relations between the new governments in India and Pakistan. Determining the part if any played by the interactions of Desai and Zia in this is an aspect for historians to investigate. What is well known is that after Prime Minister Desais retirement President Zia presented him with Pakistans highest award, even before he was similarly honoured in his own country.
I t was around mid-day on the second of July, Senior members of the official delegations of India and Pakistan were meeting in a closed room, oblivious to the heavenly ambience outside. Equally oblivious to the surroundings were a few of us juniors, listlessly waiting outside, and expecting the worst. Discussions had not been going well for the last few days.
The door opened. Our foreign secretary, T. Kaul, emerged, looking somewhat annoyed and impatient. He walked towards us, threw up his hands in the air, and proclaimed, Boys, it is all over, adding after a pause, I am leaving for New Delhi. And so he did, in the next hour or so. Returning to the hotel where we were staying during the much-hyped Shimla summit, I looked back at the last two and a half years of my life. Towards the end of , I was transferred to Karachi, as head of post, with the designation of assistant high commissioner. The post had been downgraded at the insistence of Pakistan from that of deputy high commissioner my counterpart in the then East Pakistan still enjoyed that exalted title.
So was the Pakistani post in Bombay. The Pakistanis felt that they did not have any special advantage in the presence of a senior official in Bombay. They had enough access in Delhi. Democracy, a free press, and the liberty to meet anyone they liked gave the Pakistani diplomats a natural advantage, as compared to us.
In Pakistan, we were hounded by Intelligence, followed aggressively everywhere, and hardly had any contacts with the locals as Pakistanis were afraid even to be seen with us. However, the so-called muhajirs or migrants from India were mostly settled in and around Karachi. That gave us some access to a section of the local population who still had relations in India and who came regularly to our post for visas and other consular services despite heavy surveillance.
The first military dictator of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan, had already been dethroned by a massive popular agitation. Amongst others, this agitation was by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his one-time blue-eyed boy and foreign minister. Elections were held under Ayubs successor, General Yahya Khan.
This time, these were relatively free and fair. But the results disappointed not only the dictator and the army, but almost all political elements in West Pakistan. Since East Pakistan had a larger population, it also held a majority of seats in the National Assembly. For the first time, this opened up the possibility of a Bengali leader, heading a Bengal-based political party, assuming the office of the prime minister of Pakistan.
And that exposed the major fault line in the arrangement. The Punjabis, who were a majority in the West, and who dominated the armed forces, the bureaucracy and generally the state of Pakistan, were totally unwilling to share, much less cede, power to the Bengalis. In fact, the Punjabis looked down upon them as lesser Muslims: they loved their language and its non-Muslim poets like the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore; their women wore saris and bindis on their foreheads like Hindu women; they were not a martial race like their Western counterparts, and so on.
How could they be allowed to rule over Pakistan? Eventually, Bhutto succeeded in preventing Mujib from becoming prime minister. At one stage, he had threatened all the elected members from West Pakistan that their legs would be broken if they dared to go to Dhaka for a meeting of the National Assembly.
He used his relations with the armed forces and the bureaucracy, and manipulated public opinion, to prevent any compromise from emerging. I remember we had gone to Dhaka towards the end of for a meeting of the heads of our three offices in Pakistan. The atmosphere in East Pakistan was highly charged.
It was clear that if the aspirations of the people of East Pakistan, suppressed so far, were thwarted again, there was going to be a civil war. Perhaps, that is what Bhutto and Yahya wanted. Thats exactly what happened. In March , the army began the Rape of Bangladesh. In fairness, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi tried to find a peaceful solution to this problem. She toured the world; she asked Pakistans friends to advise Yahya to work for a political compromise, in their own interest, which would also enable the refugees to return. Nothing happened. And then, on 3 December , Pakistani planes attacked our airfields in the western sector and the third Indo-Pak conflict began.
Apart from other developments, Indian diplomats in Pakistan were all put under house arrest. As it happened, a colleague and I were still in the office at Karachi when our building was surrounded by Pakistani forces; we spent the next few days and nights sleeping on the sofas and eating the meagre emergency rations we had kept for just such a possibility.
Eventually, I was shifted to my residence but not allowed to meet or communicate with anyone, except the Swiss consul general, as the Swiss had been asked by our government to look after our interests in Pakistan. Our condition lasted till the 22nd December, when we were all repatriated to India. On our return, A. Chib, our deputy high commissioner in Islamabad, became joint secretary Pakistan or head of the Pakistan Division in the Ministry of External Affairs MEA ; a little later, I was appointed his deputy secretary. Subsequently, Nareshwar Dayal, another colleague from Islamabad, joined us.
Of course, Foreign Secretary T. Kaul was directly and closely involved. So were P. Haksar, principal secretary, and P. Dhar, secretary in the Prime Ministers Office. At the political level, the prime minister was naturally consulting her senior colleagues, particularly the ministers for External Affairs, Defence, and Home Affairs.
But, it was the suave D. Dhar, a former politician from Jammu and Kashmir, and a former ambassador to the Soviet Union, who had emerged as the major political adviser to her on Indo- Pak negotiations. It was he who led our delegation to pre-summit talks at Murree in Pakistan. It was he who had called me one day, and asked me to take ten days off to produce a draft of what could be the basis of a possible agreement at a summit meeting between the prime minister and Bhutto.
I did produce a draft, which was changed around several times, and which was not the only draft considered for the meeting. Dhar Sahib was coordinating our preparations leading to the Shimla summit. He was a charming, cultured and likable person, who inspired confidence and trust. But, he was also a realist with a sense of history, who understood the Pakistani mindset and our own national interests. His preparations were so thorough that he had even got us to envisage a possible dialogue between Mrs Gandhi and Bhutto during their very first one-toone meeting.
He felt that since we had studied Bhuttos persona well, and were familiar with his thought processes, we should try and anticipate his pitch. We should also recommend how the prime minister might like to react and project our own point of view so that Bhutto was left in no doubt about our concerns and our minimum positions.
The dialogue was duly prepared, vetted by our seniors and eventually shown by Dhar Sahib to the prime minister. Unfortunately, he was hospitalized in Shimla after a heart attack. In the course of all these preparations, we tried to highlight a few basic points: first, that Bhutto was not at all trustworthy, and that we could not depend upon him. He was hardly in his thirties and a virtual nobody in Pakistani politics when Ayub had picked him up and made him a minister.
But what did he do to Ayub? He dumped him when he sensed that Ayubs time was up and when he saw a chance to become the boss himself. There were several other instances of his having used people for furthering his interests and then leaving them by the wayside or worse. He was quite capable of changing colours to achieve his goals. Secondly, despite his newly assumed professions of peace, the real Bhutto was a true representative of the ruling classes in Pakistan. Consisting of the armed forces, the bureaucracy, the feudal elements from which Bhutto came and a bit of the Islamic right, these classes were intrinsically inimical to India.
They wanted parity with India despite their size; their definition of Pakistani nationhood was simply that it was not India; they had dreams of flying the Pakistani flag on the Red Fort; they derisively claimed that one Pakistani soldier was equal to ten Indian soldiers. Apart from psychological and mythological reasons, an adversarial relationship with India was essential for the continuation in power of this oligarchy. No wonder that it was Bhutto who had talked of a thousand-year war with India. It was difficult to imagine that the leopard had changed its spots so soon, so easily.
We tried to persuade our seniors that we could not afford to wait and test out his words against his future actions. Thirdly, Bhutto had taken a big risk by coming to India for a meeting with the prime minister. Further, it was not a strictly bilateral meeting; the Soviets had facilitated it.
In , India had not only convincingly defeated Pakistan but also succeeded in creating an independent state of Bangladesh out of East Pakistan, captured over 93, Pakistani prisoners of war, and was occupying about 5, square miles about 14, sq. By agreeing to come to Shimla, Bhutto had raised expectations within Pakistan; he could not afford to return empty-handed. It was, however, difficult to convince most of our seniors about the rationale of these arguments. Kaul a few weeks before the summit.
We were speaking on these lines and he was getting a little fed up. He interrupted one of us in mid-sentence and said: Look, you fellows have spent a lot of time in Pakistan; your knowledge is excellent but your thinking has been coloured: you have become subjective; you should remember that the circumstances have changed.
I refuse to believe that Bhutto and the other Pakistanis can afford to be so intransigent. In fairness to Kaul, I must mention another incident. After the first or second official-level meeting with the Pakistanis at Shimla, the foreign secretary had seen how different they could be from the warm, back-slapping and Urdu-poetry spouting buddies at a social gathering. Initially, they avoided even discussing a final settlement of Kashmir.
The arrogance of Aziz Ahmad, leader of their delegation, could be irritating, if it was not comical. A long explanation of the economic benefits of peace to the peoples of the two countries by the economist P. Dhar had elicited mostly silence from the Pakistani delegation. All they wanted to talk about was the return of their territory and their prisoners. After the Pakistani delegation left the room at the conclusion of that session, Kaul turned to us and said, Boys, you were right; these fellows are impossible.
Actually, he had used a different and rather colourful Urdu expression. In contrast with and in spite of the narrowness of focus and vision of the Pakistanis, the prevalent mood on our side was that of idealism and the larger picture. We wanted the opening of a new chapter in our relations; we aimed at durable peace in the subcontinent; and we considered that moment a historical opportunity for ushering in an era of peace and prosperity. Of course, the one concrete thing we wanted was to sort out the Kashmir question once for all.
We had all the cards. We had the POWs; we had the Pakistani territory; Pakistan was broken up; world public opinion was with us. We had defied the Americans; the Soviet Union was fully supportive. Even then, we were almost apologetic that we were the victors. We seemed to be bending backwards to accommodate the Pakistanis in our anxiety to sign some agreement or the other.
Perhaps, we suffered from what can only be described as the Versailles Syndrome. There was a feeling that we should not repeat the blunders of recent world history; following the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles had imposed humiliating terms on the Germans; this, we believed, was the major reason for the Second World War.
It followed, therefore, that we, the victors, should not impose any harsh terms on Pakistan. As the bigger country, we should go more than the proverbial halfway. We were convinced that we must not only have the best of relations with Pakistan in all possible fields, but also that this could actually be done. We had this feeling, irrespective of the ground realities, irrespective of whether the Pakistanis were also willing and able to respond positively, and irrespective of the lessons of the short history of India-Pakistan relations.
To us, the logic was clear: since we could not change our neighbours, we had to live in peace with them. We could not continue to waste our resources on armament; we had to divert these resources towards the welfare of our peoples. We had to cooperate with our neighbour; only then could we fulfil our destiny. This thesis stood, as if on its own, without regard to whether the Pakistani ruling classes also wanted peace and cooperation or whether they judged tension and confrontation to be in their best interests.
Strangely, this kind of mindset continues till today. In the joint production that was the Shimla summit, we had written the script so far; but, as the play evolved, the script came to be increasingly written and played out by Bhutto and the large contingent of performers he had carefully chosen to bring along with him.
Bhutto, who had repeatedly spoken of a thousand-year war with India, was all sugar and honey, smiles and warmth, friendship and cooperation, peace and prosperity in public or in private. All this was music to our ears. We were being wooed with sentences like these: the peoples of our two countries can make progress only in peace; we must put an end to the history of conflict and war between our two countries; believe me when I say that it is the only way we can go forward.
He went to the extent of telling Indian journalists that the new ceasefire line in Jammu and Kashmir, established after the conflict, should become the Line of Peace. He kept on emphasizing his democratic credentials: for the first time after a long reign of military rule, an elected leader was at the helm of affairs in Pakistan; he needed support in preserving democracy; only a democratic government as opposed to military dictators could take positive decisions on fundamental issues like peace; therefore, he needed an agreement that he could take home and sell to his people.
The group of Pakistani actors in this mass production was very well chosen and equally well rehearsed. Bhuttos eightyfour-member delegation comprised politicians of all hues and colours, civil servants, intelligence officers, journalists, intellectuals, military men, and many others. Almost all of them had friends or relations in India. There was the chief secretary of Pakistani Punjab, who was a Kashmiri and knew many people in India. And all of them kept on repeating the same mantra: we must help Bhutto; we cant allow him to go back without an agreement that he can sell to his people; the army is waiting and watching; the political opposition will chew him up if we impose a harsh deal; that will be the end of democracy.
But, the talks had now failed; there was no agreement. We had returned to our hotel and were preparing to leave Shimla the next day. There was only one official engagement left; that was the return banquet hosted by Bhutto. We were all there at the appointed time. There was a head table for the leadership of the two sides.
Chavan; senior officials included P. Haksar, P. Dhar, and S. On smaller tables spread around the dining hall, mixed groups of Indian and Pakistanis sat, making desperate attempts at small conversation. But the atmosphere continued to be depressed. Much of the dinner proceeded in a very vocal silence.
We were waiting for dessert when Mrs Gandhi and Bhutto simply got up and walked out of the hall. Just like that! We didnt know what was happening. We all stood up, not knowing what to do. Swaran Singh had the presence of mind to say something about sitting down after the two had left. And so we did. Dessert came. In-between, P. Haksar and Rafi Raza got up and left the hall. Coffee was served. A few more from both sides joined the two leaders. The dinner came to an end. We trooped out of the hall into the foyer. Slowly, most people left. But, some of us kept waiting; there were comings and goings, from one room to the other and so on.
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This took us almost to midnight. And then it happened. The scene is still vivid in my memory. There seemed hardly any other persons in the foyer. Haksar Sahib came out of the room, slowly walked towards us and started lighting his pipe. Usha Bhagat asked him: Haksar sahib, ladki hui ki ladka?
Haksar sahib, is it a girl or a boy? Haksar Sahib took his time, smiled a little, cleared his throat, and said Ladka hua aur woh bhi MA pass. It is a boy that too with a Masters degree. We had reached an agreement. Unknown to us officials, a meeting had taken place between the PM and Bhutto in the late afternoon of the second of July No one else was present.
Actually, there was nothing new in what Bhutto told the prime minister, but he conveyed it to her with an even greater passion than he demonstrated in public. In every turn of phrase, every gesture and expression, he emphasized that he wanted peace with India. He said he was fully convinced that conflict cannot resolve anything, that the future lies only in cooperation, and that they have a historic duty to write a new chapter in bilateral relations. He played upon his relatively short and short-lived democratic credentials. He emphasized that he had just been elected as president; democracy was new in Pakistan; he had enemies all around him in the armed forces, in the establishment, in the political opposition.
They would kill him if he was seen to have capitulated. He underlined that he represented a defeated nation, and that he did not have any concessions to offer; on the other hand, India was the victor and only India could give any concessions. In conclusion, he asked Mrs Gandhi to help him by showing statesmanship.
Mrs Gandhi focussed on Jammu and Kashmir. She told Bhutto that the only solution to Jammu and Kashmir was the existing ceasefire line or the line of control becoming the international border; there would be no further division, no exchange of populations, no bloodshed. Bhutto agreed but said that all this could not go into an agreement. He could not go to his people on this understanding just yet.
He would be thrown out. But what he could do was to go back and tell his people that Mrs Gandhi and he had decided to open a new chapter in bilateral relations. He would gradually prepare the public opinion in his country. Pakistan would recognize Bangladesh. Pakistani POWs could then be returned to Pakistan. Normalcy could be restored in India-Pakistan relations with the restoration of travel, trade, communications, and cooperation in other fields. We would move towards easing tensions and creating an atmosphere of friendship and trust.
In the meantime, we would have a soft border in Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of the new line of control. Eventually, we would turn this line of control into an international border between the two countries. This was the understanding reached between them. To be sure, towards the conclusion of their conversation, Indira Gandhi specifically asked Bhutto to confirm this understanding. Bhutto specifically confirmed it. Soon, we received a copy of the agreement; it had to be typed and prepared for the formal signing.
I had one look at it and was deeply disappointed. The agreement was signed, not on the second of July the date it bears but in the early hours of the morning of 3 July It should be obvious that the priorities of India and Pakistan were quite different. India aimed at using this opportunity to end the mistrust, confrontation and hostility between the two countries. India wanted to create conditions for long-term peace and cooperation. One of the means to achieve this was a final settlement of the cancerous issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Another was to ensure that all problems between the two countries were solved through bilateral, peaceful means.
On the other hand, Pakistan had only short-term aims. Their priorities were the withdrawal of Indian forces from the 5, square miles of territory occupied by them in the Punjab and Sind, repatriation of the 93, prisoners of war, and a postponement of any final solution of Jammu and Kashmir to some future date when they were in a strong negotiating position. Pakistan also did not wish to recognize Bangladesh at an early date but to wait for a more opportune moment to extract the best possible terms.
Under the Shimla Agreement, Pakistan agreed to bilaterally settle all problems between the two countries. However, apart from two general references to the United Nations charter, a clause was added at the last moment, in the context of the establishment of a line of control in Jammu and Kashmir, namely, that this would be without prejudice to the recognized position of either side.
The Pakistani position had always been that Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory; we claimed it to be an integral part of India. As part of the Shimla accord, we had agreed to withdraw our forces from the territory occupied by our forces in West Pakistan. We were doing this without anything concrete in return. We were also required to complete this withdrawal in thirty days. This was not even linked to the demarcation of the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir, which was to eventually become the international border in terms of the understanding between the two leaders.
It can be argued that operative paragraph 2 of the agreement contains a number of positive steps. Both governments had agreed to prevent hostile propaganda against each other and to encourage dissemination of information for the development of friendly relations. Resumption of communications, promotion of travel, re-establishment of trade and economic relations and exchanges in the fields of science and culture were agreed to in the context of the normalization of relations between the two.
A final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir, resumption of diplomatic relations, and the repatriation of POWs had been postponed to the future. While India withdrew its forces from Pakistani territory in accordance with the agreement, most of the other provisions remained on paper. Hostile propaganda from Pakistan resumed.
There were no signs of Pakistan recognizing Bangladesh. There was hardly any movement on the normalization of relations; in fact, it took another three years even for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations, which could have practically happened in a few days or weeks. But, there was an orchestrated Pakistani propaganda campaign to get the POWs back, quoting Geneva conventions, emphasizing humanitarian aspects, and trying to put us on the defensive. By that time, some prisoners had tried to escape; some were shot; there were headlines in the international media and increasing pressure on us.
So much so that there were voices from within, questioning our continued holding of the prisoners, who were eventually released without any conditions! Benazir Bhutto, in her autobiography Daughter of the East, offers an explanation. She describes a scene where Bhutto walks into her room after signing the agreement and asks her, Why do you think I chose the territory?
She is quite shocked and replies that she really did not know. She adds, The people in Pakistan would have been much happier if the prisoners had been freed. And they will be freed, he assures her. Prisoners are a human problem. The magnitude is increased when there are 93, of them. It would be inhuman for India to keep them indefinitely. And it will also be a problem to keep on feeding and housing them.
Territory, on the other hand, is not a human problem. Territory can be assimilated. Prisoners cannot be. The Arabs have still not succeeded in regaining the territory lost in the war. But the capturing of land doesnt cry out for international attention the same way prisoners do. Bhutto also discloses to her that Indira Gandhi had offered to return either the POWs or the territory. It is also relevant that, in one of the first statements he made in Pakistan on return, Bhutto boasted that, it is five years since the Arabs have been wanting to get their territory back.
I got it within less than five months. Bhutto got the territory back in terms of the Shimla Agreement. He also got the prisoners back a year later through a separate agreement some academics and even former diplomats seem to erroneously believe that the release of POWs was settled at Shimla. We had difficulties even in the delineation of the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir, not to talk of its transformation into an international border, as promised by Bhutto to Indira Gandhi.
Unfortunately, as Rafi Raza, Bhuttos closest adviser at Shimla, says in his book, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Pakistan: The so-called spirit of Simla died soon after the ink was dry on the accord. In trying too hard to avoid a post-Tashkent scenario, Bhutto lost the opportunity to open a new era in the subcontinent. Twenty-seven years after the Shimla Agreement, the Lahore Declaration 21 February between prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif uses almost the same words and phrases as were used at Shimla. For example: Convinced that durable peace and the development of harmonious relations and friendly cooperation will serve the vital interests of the peoples of the two countries.
As we all know, this declaration was followed by Pakistans aggression in Kargil. And this is not the only instance of its kind in our history of the past more than sixty years. It is true that Pakistanis no longer boast of flying their flag on the Red Fort or of one Pakistani soldier being equal to ten Indians or even of a thousand-year war.
On the other hand, the world looks at them as a failed or a failing or a disintegrating state, which is the epicentre of Islamic terrorism. Some believe that Pakistan is at war with itself and is slowly committing hara-kiri. This may or may not be so. Nor is there any hope for durable peace and harmonious relations in the foreseeable future. While we should still continue our efforts towards friendship with Pakistan, we should also be clear that you cannot clap with one hand.
Nor can we afford to let our guard down, in view of Pakistan continuing to sponsor terrorism against us as a part of their official policy. This is the least we can learn from the story of the Shimla Agreement. I was having lunch when I got a call from Kewal Singh, the foreign secretary, asking me to report to him immediately. It was 7 April I rushed to the foreign office. Kewal Singh welcoming me warmly said, You are being sent to take over charge of the Sikkim government immediately.
The Sikkim administration has collapsed and the Chogyal ruler wants immediate assistance. The people are on the streets demanding a democratic system. Everything is at a standstill with the government. You will have to fly out immediately and take over, restore normalcy and seek a political solution keeping in mind the demands of the people. It is a tricky assignment. We trust your diplomatic skills to handle the situation.
He cautioned me about Chinese reactions. The Indian Army was on the alert. He wished me good luck. The radio broadcasts and newspapers carried headlines on my appointment describing it as a takeover of Sikkim by India. The helipad was lined on both sides by anti-Chogyal demonstrators, led by Kazi Lhendup Dorji. Sudhir Devare of the Indian Political Office, the chief secretary of Sikkim, the police commissioner, and the Indian Armys representative, all welcomed me. I was ceremoniously conducted to a dais from where the demonstrators took over, and I had to walk all the way to my earmarked house, earlier the residence of dewans.
It was a long and tiring walk, but a thrilling experience all the same, with so much suspense thrown in. This was the first occasion in my long career to have been received in this manner! The next day, when I asked for a meeting with the Chogyal, his secretary informed me that he had to consult his royal astrologer to decide the auspicious date and timing of our meeting. I might have been deputed by Indias prime minister to take over the government, but the Chogyal was the ruler and constitutionally I was his appointee.
I was received by him a day later, at a time that suited his stars. Our meeting was disastrous and acrimonious. After the usual exchange of ceremonial scarves, the Chogyal said, Mr Das, please note that Sikkim is not Goa, which you have come to take over as administrator. We are independent, and your services have been lent to my government. Let there be no misunderstanding on this. Then he began to rail against the injustice of his situation, of how Delhi had treated him, and how Kazi Lhendups men were behaving like goons out to destroy Sikkims identity.
He asked me to tell Delhi that it was he, the Chogyal, who was a true friend of India, and not those rogues who roamed the streets spreading terror and violence. He was shocked that in spite of being an honorary major general of the Indian Army, he had been insulted by this very army. It had taken over all the police stations, confining their personnel to the barracks. I shall never forgive the Indian Army for this humiliation, he said.
Finally he stated that he could not accept my designation as the administrator. I suggested very diplomatically that perhaps the title could be changed to chief executive. Though a very shrewd person, he missed the nuance of this title. Chief executive automatically gives the status of a head, covering all executive powers.
Without realizing it, he immediately agreed, and I obtained the foreign secretarys consent. Thus, posted as administrator, I became the chief executive of Sikkim, heading the government with all the powers which the Chogyal exercised as a ruler, except judicial powers, wherein he was the ultimate court of appeal over Sikkims high court. It was a historical building, constructed by the British in the early twentieth century as the Residency. It was the seat of British power, where the first political officer, Sir Claude White, presided in , looking after Bhutan and Sikkim.
In those very beautiful surroundings, we sat over a drink and lunch, little realizing that we would rewrite the history of Sikkim by correcting the errors of the post-Independence Government of India. Shankar wanted to know the instructions I had brought from Kewal Singh.
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I had just jotted down the key points in a small diary. None of these indicated the final objective. Typical of Mrs Gandhi, she never allowed herself to be pinned down to a political commitment, except in generalities, leaving her close advisers to draw conclusions which fitted into her approach. Shankar and I smiled at one directive: We must support the aspirations of the people of Sikkim, and should not allow the Chogyal to exploit them.
In fact, this was the key to all future planning, and gave an answer that was in accordance with Mrs Gandhis thinking. The word merger was never mentioned. Even Kewal, our controller from behind the scenes, never uttered this word. But Shankar and I knew without being told. Delhi came under virulent attack by China and Pakistan, and severe criticism from some Western nations including the US, thus bringing us under great pressure. While the Soviet Union was advising caution, others were attacking India, calling it a colonial power. Bhutan, adjoining Sikkim, which did not like Sikkim, kept very quiet through all this, though it relished the idea of the kingdom being delinked from Bhutan.
Of all the countries which should have been happy, it was Nepal, with 75 per cent of the Sikkimese being of Nepalese origin, which was Indias biggest critic! The Chinese were right on the borders, at Nathu La, having an access from Tibet. This was once the main point of British political and economic dominance of inner Tibet.
Based on historical evidence, there were two enclaves within Tibet which Sikkim claimed. These were occupied by China. Sikkim itself was claimed as a part of the Chinese empire. It was obvious that China was concerned with the extension of Indias political presence after the fall of the Sikkim government. Delhi had not foreseen an international response that was so critical of India. India wanted a quick settlement of key issues, such as fresh elections based on one man, one vote. The Chogyal was vehement in his opposition to this demand. The electorate being 75 per cent Nepalese, but under Bhutia domination headed by himself, he knew he would be defeated and lose all his powers.
I was instructed by Delhi to restore normalcy in Sikkim, run its administration without any major incidents, and get rid of pro-Chogyal elements in the bureaucracy, who dominated the court. The Chogyals American wife, Hope Cooke, had close contacts in America, supporting her claim of being the queen of a sovereign, independent country.
I was able to restore the administration fairly quickly with all the offices functioning. The police were back on duty. But I failed to bring the Chogyal in line on the issue of one man, one vote, even though he was agreeable to holding fresh elections. Sandwiched between the political officer putting pressure as Indias representative, and myself as his chief executive advising him to fall in line with the changed times, the Chogyal capitulated within a month of my joining.
The famous agreement of 8 May between him and Kazi Lhendup Dorji, with India as a guarantor for maintaining his dynasty and providing justice to all ethnic elements, sealed the Chogyals fate. I was allotted a senior IAS officer, R. Sengupta, as the election commissioner. Between him and my three deputies, K. Lal, D. Manavalan and J. Sanyal, also of the IAS, the electoral rolls were revised and election dates announced.
The Indian Diplomat at Large
I decided not to make any changes in the top echelons of the bureaucracy, knowing fully well that most of them were the Chogyals men. I was under great pressure from Delhi to remove all the key players of the palace coterie, but I evaded the issue and assured Kewal that I could handle them successfully. This confidence was based on my understanding of the Sikkimese psychology, which made them switch over to the winning side. He ultimately became Indias ambassador to Mongolia. With the 8 May agreement coming into force, and things beginning to settle down, the international criticism cooled down.
Hope Cooke, whose ambitions were to be a queen, realized that she had the status only of the Chogyals wife and nothing more. She decided to leave Sikkim. The Chogyal pleaded with her to be at his side, as he needed her at that difficult juncture, but she refused. I saw her off on 14 August Her last words were, Mr Das, please look after my husband. I have no role to play now. Hope Cooke was an enigma to many. Some called her a CIA agent. No one knows the true story. But she had become the right hand of the Chogyal in his anti-Indian postures.
She changed the school textbooks, bringing in anti-Indian stances through stories and cartoons. She had formed a group of young people, including some bureaucrats, who contacted visitors from abroad for propagating Sikkims independent status and criticizing India for destroying its identity. Cooke herself played an active role in deriding India before foreigners. It was suspected that she was in touch with some foreign elements inimical to India. On the one hand, she would act as a soft-spoken royal spouse, projecting herself as the queen for the benefit of VIPs; and on the other, she would shower harsh words on anyone when she lost her temper.
Tragically, this dual role exposed her as an actor with no substance. The Chogyals excessive drinking infuriated her and led to fights, which the family and close friends did not appreciate. With Delhi intervening and taking over Sikkim, she realized she had lost the battle. Very wisely, she quit. She became withdrawn after that, realizing that her relevance was over. Preparations for fresh elections based on the one man, one vote principle began.
The electoral rolls were finalized, keeping this aspect in mind. Before the elections, the Chogyal wanted to take a tour of south Sikkim, which consisted mainly of persons of Nepalese origin. The environment was very hostile to him in this area and I advised him against such a tour, but he was insistent. He also wanted me to accompany him in order to prove that he was the ruler and I, merely a symbol of Delhi, was his chief executive, and therefore a subordinate.
Being the head of the monastic order, the Chogyal started his tour with a visit to the monasteries in this area. In earlier instances, the lamas would line the streets, but this time they were missing. Apart from conducting a formal ceremony of worship, he found he had lost the ecclesiastical hold. It was a big shock. He faced abusive slogans, witnessed shoes tied to his portraits, and heard the crowds threatening him.
It misunderstands that these areas are not cleanly divisible. Ronald Neumann was a former Army infantry officer who fought in Vietnam before becoming a career diplomat, serving as U. Do you cut up France? At some point, people actually have to live with each other. TWD: Which is the whole goal of diplomacy, right? TWD: Do you see that as a general concern as a solution to sectarianism, creating states specifically for just one ethnic group?
RN: Sometimes. Well, a large part of diplomacy is to get other people to do things your way — and like it. RN: You have to look at each situation individually. But, in general, if you go with ethnic nationalism, what you end up finding is that you are reducing states into smaller and smaller and less viable fragments. So, do you cut up Spain into the. One is money, but the other is the quality of American professional diplomacy. The budgets proposed by the administration have been woefully inadequate, but the budgets passed by the Congress have been reasonable.
And overall, Congress has acted responsibly on the foreign policy budgets. Once you get away from big issues like bud-. In , Thomas Pickering and Edward Perkins wrote an op-ed arguing that our foreign policy presence abroad needs to look more like our population at home and that we need to do a better job recruiting women and people of color into the Foreign Service. Do you agree with this, and how do you think the Foreign Service has done on this score? RN: I agree with it.
The Foreign Service has done reasonably well in recruiting. As I remember, more than half now are women entering. Asians and Latinos are a little bit low. Other than that position, you have almost no serving senior officers being used in Washington. TWD: Any thoughts on the future of diplomacy and how we can craft a more effective one in the future? RN: I would differentiate a little between policy, which ultimately is the domain of the elected administration, and carrying out policy, which requires an efficient, professional diplomacy.
WD Ryan R. Migeed RyanMigeed is a freelance writer based in Boston. Lease today and discover your canvas for urban living. Brightly illuminated interiors in generously proportioned floorplans Natural hardwood flooring and custom louvered shades Exquisite fine finishes and spa-style bathrooms Heated, meter rooftop pool and sweeping skyline views.
Members of a U. The camp hosts around , Rohingya refugees who fled attacks by security forces in neighboring Myanmar. On Sept. The three-man mission was established to investigate a wave of violence that kicked off on Aug. The response that followed, described by the U. By August , nearly , had been forced to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, with the U. The fact-finding mission called on the U. It also recommended targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, as well as. And I think, generally speaking, isolation probably favors that latter group, and more integration and engagement probably favors that former group.
Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning icon of the struggle for democracy in Myanmar, has seen her global reputation tank in the wake of the Rohingya crisis, which the U. But other governments and experts have gone against the grain by urging caution instead of condemnation. They point out that the military — not Aung San Suu Kyi — still controls the government. And that government is constrained by domestic politics, with many in the Buddhist-majority nation having little sympathy for the Rohingya, a largely Muslim population with its own distinct dialect and culture that has lived in the region for generations.
The current crisis is a complicated one rooted in centuries-old hatreds, not only in Myanmar but in neighboring nations, where Rohingya refugees also face discrimination. Two days after the report was published, Canadian members of parliament unanimously agreed to declare the violence in Rakhine state a genocide. On Oct. The U. The State Department detailed gruesome attacks such as prisoners being mutilated, women gang raped in front of their husbands and children, and soldiers dismembering or bulldozing bodies into graves or pits.
Perhaps most significantly, the European Union announced on Oct. It is not limited to Rakhine state either, and the U. Prior to the most recent exodus, about 1. While Bangladesh has been hailed for its humanitarian response to the waves of Rohingya refugees, like many of its neighbors, it refuses to grant the Rohingya citizenship and other rights, insisting they go back to Myanmar.
A plan to repatriate Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to Myanmar has so far been scrapped because officials cannot find anyone willing to return. Myanmar also denies the Rohingya citizenship, even though they have been living in Rakhine state for centuries, with many having migrated from the Indian subcontinent. During the 19th and early 20th century, when the British administered Myanmar as a province of India, Rohingya laborers from Bangladesh and India also migrated to the country, fueling resentment among the local Burmese population, which stills considers the Rohingya to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
A citizenship law effectively rendered the Rohingyas in Myanmar stateless, restricting their freedom of movement, education and employment. Perhaps most importantly, the Tatmadaw still exerts considerable control over much of the country. Between and , Myanmar was almost totally closed to the world under a military dictatorship. Democracy in Myanmar is fragile,. Dictators do not want an educated population, but democracy does. Diplomats are wrestling with these issues as they seek to determine the best path forward, and major world powers have found themselves at odds over how best to address the crisis.
As highlighted by a recent report in Frontier Myanmar, textiles and garments accounted for Textiles and garments account for 72 percent of exports from Myanmar to the European Union, which have seen a sharp rise since the reintroduction of trade preferences in The rapidly growing garment industry currently employs around , workers, of whom over 90 percent are women.
The Myanmar Garment Manufacturers Association reports that the sector employs , people at more than factories, selling. The growing threat of trade sanctions has already rattled investor confidence, with local NGO SMART Myanmar reporting that only 18 new garment factories commenced operations in the country during the first half of , compared to 70 during the first half of Garment factory job losses put many young female workers at risk of being pushed into the sex trade.
Significantly, the U. But for European stakeholders, inaction and impunity are unacceptable. It is not the end of the process. He also stressed that a decision to withdraw GSP privileges would not necessarily be permanent. It really is up to the government of Myanmar to decide whether they want to address these things that are not EU concerns, but concerns raised in U. This is remarkable conand robust economic growth. Althe most recent U. General Asthough she has been increasingly sembly. Marciel says that for now, the democratic transformation.
He traveled there for the tary leaders continue to dictate the fact-finding mission report as perpetrators of violence against the Rohingya in Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss bi- restrictions on fundamental rights for the Rohingya community in Rakhine. It was designed A Japan-Myanmar investment event government….
The Tatmadaw apNOTE: everyinvited effort isjoin made assure yoursanctions ad is free mistakes in spelling and content it international is ultimatelyvoice up towere thetotally customer to make the offinal was the sole Although Mekong leader problems in addressing the the that. Signed ads are considered approved. Contact Us: Washington D. According to the U. Current and former Tatmadaw officers continue to occupy positions of authority across all branches of government, as well as within the civil service, judiciary and in state-owned enterprises.
For Japan, this means that while its position is unpalatable internationally, it will continue to encourage both sides — military and civilian — to engage with each other. In public, they are both careful never to criticize each other. Many NLD members were arrested when this country was under military government, so the NLD does not trust the military. During this time, the military was also severely criticized, particularly by NLD members, so the military does not trust the NLD.
But the transition of power was held very peacefully; both have worked together to improve stability. The peace combination of military and civilian leadership is essential. China has announced billions of dollars of infrastructure investment across key BRI waypoints in the Pacific, Southeast Asia and Africa.
Maruyama was referencing a planned deepwater port at the Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone in Rakhine state. The port would offer strategic access to the Indian Ocean via the Bay of Bengal, cutting 5, kilometers of sailing distance between China and India. However, similar projects elsewhere in Asia have been debt traps for developing countries, which borrow heavily from China to build BRI infrastructure, only to find themselves unable to repay once construction has finished.
Before , every local person in Myanmar opposed the military government, and of course the international community was the same. We all expected the change in this country from a military regime to a democratic country…. And the international community is always the same about human rights.
So, the voice of the local people in Myanmar and the international community are totally different. If we want to see Myanmar achieve steady and healthy economic development, Western engagement is essential. Ambassador to Myanmar Scot Marciel and a U. As the Japanese view it, continued engagement with Myanmar and transportation investment will help counter-. It appears that the country does: On Oct.
Embassy in Yangon, Ambassador Scot Marciel finds himself striking a delicate balance between taking a stand against gross human rights violations, protecting a tenuous process of democratization and juggling an array of complex geopolitical interests. Marciel is a career diplomat who joined the State Department in Prior to.
Marciel recognized the challenges facing governments attempting to bring alleged war criminals to justice while minimizing harm to the broader population. For now, at least, the U. Tourism numbers and foreign direct investment FDI , for example, have both dropped in the wake of the Rakhine conflict. On Aug. Foreign tourist arrivals also have fallen, with the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism attributing the decline to negative publicity. He also recognized the risks of diminished economic and diplomatic ties.
Like Maruyama, Marciel argued that the peace process will also take much longer than many in the international community would hope. He also argued that progress is possible, identifying short-term measures such as improved accountability and human rights, including freedom of movement and citizenship, for the Rohingya still in Myanmar.
Accountability is the most pressing and likely most challenging issue. Myanmar is not a member of the International Criminal.
For decades, the Rohingya, a largely Muslim population with its own distinct dialect and culture, have faced widespread persecution in Myanmar, a majority-Buddhist country. Court, and the office of President Win Myint has dismissed a Sept. Trials at The Hague for any accused Tatmadaw war criminals are unlikely. However, the government of Myanmar announced in August it had formed an independent commission, a four-member body led by Rosario Manalo, a former deputy foreign minister of the Philippines.
It will be assisted by national and international legal experts, according to media reports, with the government of Myanmar repeatedly stating that if the commission finds evidence of human rights violations, action will be taken. Many among the diplomatic and humanitarian community doubt the commission will make an impact, but Marciel has adopted an optimistic approach.
Should the commission be able to do a credible investigation and a credible report with a credible outcome, that would be a big positive. Further down the road, the most pressing challenges will likely concern resettlement, reintegration, and restoration of basic human rights. Here too, more problems. These people, for the most part, still are not enjoying fundamental rights: freedom of movement, access to education, health care, citizenship or other legal documentation.
Citizenship is another major challenge. Although the government has claimed a planned national verification process will act as a pathway to citizenship for the stateless Rohingya, many have refused to participate in the scheme due to widespread distrust. Freedom of movement requires citizenship, but reports have emerged that those Rohingya.
Others who have received citizenship remain unable to exercise the rights that it entails, including the right to education, health care, livelihoods and voting. Marciel acknowledged the problem. It seems at times as though the peace process is facing insurmountable odds, but Marciel stressed that despite their different approaches, the U. We all face the same challenges here. Yet that is exactly what continues to happen here in Muscat, capital of the Sultanate of Oman, which has long been close to both the U.
Thus, while President Trump has been urging all nations to isolate Iran after he ditched the nuclear accord negotiated under President Obama, National Iranian Oil Company officials were also heading to the Omani capital to discuss a boost in cooperation over drilling. Omani oil and gas officials also routinely discuss these dynamics with U. If constructed, this would pass outside the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a key oil chokepoint watched over by the U. Navy and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Navy uses bases in Oman to support this role and indeed, the new Omani port of Duqm, in the center of the country and on the Indian Ocean, is already being used by the U.
Yet at the same time, up above the harbor, discussions are also ongoing for the construction of a major Iranian car plant. Oman has thus long performed a skillful, albeit low-profile, balancing act between Washington and Tehran, as well as among a host of other international and regional rivals. It has also recently been promoting the port during an investment road show in Japan. Qaboos has deftly managed competing interests in the region, maintaining good relations with Iran along with the U.
Oman has largely attempted to work behind the scenes and to emphasize their neutrality on controversial conflicts…. The year-old leader had been careful, too, to meet Palestinian Authority President Mahmood Abbas just a few days before he met Netanyahu, possibly to soothe Palestinian fears that Israel is cozying up to Arab leaders to sideline the Palestinians in any eventual peace deal.
Steering a neutral course through decades of regional conflicts has helped the sultanate keep a high degree of independence from its more powerful and richer neighbors. It has also won Oman many friends in the wider world, with Qaboos acting as an honest broker and mediator in a range of disputes, stretching back to the s.
Now, though, questions are being raised as to how much longer the country can keep up this precarious balancing act. Their proxy war against Tehran has become a defining feature of the contemporary Middle Eastern security and diplomatic landscape, from Yemen to Iraq. Yet Oman has so far refused to join them in this regional power struggle.
In more recent times, in the s, prior to the Islamic Revolution, Shah Pahlavi sent troops to help the then-young sultan put down a Marxist revolt in the southern province of Dhofar. During the Iran-Iraq War, Muscat was the venue for secret peace talks, while the sultanate has also mediated disputes between the U.
NOTE: Although everyhaseffort is made to assure your ad is free of mistakes in spelling and Now that Trump dumped the nuclear it sweeping is ultimately up to the customer to make the final proof. Since then, the Please check changes to your ad. GCC has become fractured over the Saudi-led blockade against temporary exemptions from the U. Specialists in Reproductive Health Care Dedicated to providing reproductive services and infertility health care with pleasant surroundings in a state-of-the-art facility. Yemen is a major case in point.
Oman declined to join the Saudi- and Emirati-led intervention in and instead has tried to help U. Riyadh and Abu Dhabi have since alleged that Oman has been dragging its heels in enforcing security along its border with Yemen, allowing Iranian arms to be smuggled across to Houthi rebels — a charge Oman vehemently denies. In , Oman also refused to join the Saudi- and Emirati-led blockade of Qatar. Instead, Muscat joined Kuwait in efforts to mediate the dispute.
Indeed, many ordinary Omanis have become wary of the increasingly aggressive posture of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This sentiment goes back at least to a spying case in which Omani intelligence uncovered what was allegedly an Emirati espionage ring in Muscat. Yemi Famuyiwa, M. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability accommodations and the non-discrimination notice, visit our website.
Yet income disparity remains high, corruption is pervasive and hundreds of thousands of Hungarians have left the country in search of better-paying jobs elsewhere in Europe. It had to be refurbished and by now I can tell you that the Hungarian model, as we say, is really working. Just to tell you and repeat the usual macroeconomic numbers, we started with economic growth of minus 6.
Staff projects GDP to grow by around 4 percent, similar to last year. It will turn positive over the medium term, and growth is projected to gradually decelerate starting in as the utilization of EU funds tapers off unless substantial structural reforms are implemented to boost productivity and potential growth.
Jewish prayer book and a Koran. A wooden plaque from the Nebraska National Guard. But the hides of a Mongolian wolf, an Australian kangaroo and a Sudanese crocodile? So I did what I had to do. A Jewish ambassador from the Czech Republic who hunts — a bit more so. This musician-turned-diplomat, who speaks fluent English, Russian, Hebrew and Arabic in addition to his native Czech and a smattering of other languages, enjoys gourmet cooking and collecting hot sauces.
And as Slavs, we could have easily been eaten up by the Eastern powers. So the basic task of Czech diplomacy since has been to stay Western without becoming Bavarian — and to stay Slavic without becoming Russian. His abilities as a lute player and classical guitarist allowed him to join an orchestra, which gave him the chance to go abroad. His previous ambassadorial postings include India where he was also responsible for Czech relations with Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as Australia and New Zealand. He has a son and three daughters.
Ambassador to the Czech Republic Stephen B. He was narrowly re-elected in January, bolstered by his popularity in the Czech countryside. Every year, we attract more tourists than our entire population, and we produce one car every 23 seconds. The growth stems in part from government tax incentives for foreign investors and companies, along with a strong manufacturing. With Also, our demography is changing because of the conflict in Ukraine. Of our 14 national minorities, the Slovaks used to be the biggest.
As a result, the Czech diaspora flourishes in some pretty unusual places. For this reason, the Czech army has official ties with the National Guards of both states. Both the United States and the Czech Republic have long shared common values such as freedom, respect for human rights, a free-market economy and the rule of law. But both have also been shaken by a rising tide of populism and anti-immi-.
Zeman, a populist leader who won re-election earlier this year, has been criticized for his anti-immigrant, pro-Russia rhetoric. This is because the topics changed. For example, the left-wing socialist parties used to be the parties of the working class. But the working class — the blue-collar guy who goes to. How many of them are left? As political parties get weaker and weaker, somebody must fill the vacuum. Poland, meanwhile, dropped to 25th.
But I do not buy that this represents a threat to Western democracy. I can look at that same chart, which says Greece went up to 39th place, and this shows you the complexity of the discussion. Should I praise Greece but criticize Poland? In mid-September, the European Parliament over-. Our social subsidies are lower than in Germany, the language is much harder to learn and our annual beer consumption — liters per capita — is the highest in the world. And they face widespread discrimination, according to a recent Al Jazeera report.
During a Nov. Capital Prague Population While that would certainly make the Trump administration happy, an even bigger priority — some would say obsession — of the 45th president is making Europe pay for its own defense. Even back during his presidential campaign, Trump was castigating NATO member states that spend less than 2 percent of their GDP on military expenditures.
That would include the Czech Republic, which at present spends just over 1 percent on defense. The Czech economy relies heavily on its manufacturing sector, producing one car every 23 seconds. GDP growth 4. That will be the crucial discussion of the next 20 years. Are we creating a political animal in the shape of the United States of Europe? Or an economic zone bound by the same interests, same currency and part of the same law? These two things are dramatically different. After everybody sees what Brexit means in real terms, it will lower the appetite of some political powers to play that card.
Master of Arts in Global Policy—A month, cohort-based program that builds on the core strengths of the school; flexible weekend schedule allows students to remain employed. Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance—An month program for early-career professionals to advance quantitative and econometric skills.
Master of International Public Policy—A full-time program completed over one academic year, allows experienced professionals to focus on areas of importance to their careers. But for one recipient of an honorary doctoral degree in business from Catholic University, the memory of graduation day remains vivid. Rafat Mahmood, a former Pakistani ambassador-at-large, was one of four honorees on May 12 who was recognized for his success as a businessman and for his interfaith leadership.
Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson all received honorary degrees from Catholic University. They arrived with few belongings, not much English and little money — very little. Whatever they lacked, however, they made up for with a strong desire to make a new life in the United States. And make a new life they did. Today, the Mahmoods are among an elite group of well-connected, self-made powerbrokers in Washington.
In addition, the couple often works to bridge the perpetual schisms in U. Their home in Virginia — the largest in the tony neighborhood of Mount Vernon — has been the site of countless fundraisers and receptions featuring a parade of Cabinet officials, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices and other Washington luminaries.
Three years of courtship followed while Ray looked for a jumpingoff spot. Instead, his son started from scratch in the U. Lured by the prospect of getting a green card as a business owner, Ray seized an opportunity in a rundown neighborhood in Alexandria, Va. It was the late s, a time when Western economies were reeling from an oil embargo and cars were lined up at gas pumps around the block. Ray and Shaista made it work.
Real estate classes, American citizenship, the birth of four children and the purchase of more land and more buildings all laid the groundwork for success. The Mahmoods had been transformed from impoverished immigrants to upper middleclass American citizens, known and respected mem-. Ray says the site is on one of five farms that made up the holdings of the first American president. By that time, Ray and Shaista had become wealthier than they ever expected, largely on the strength of sound investments made during years of steady economic growth and a lot of hard work.
In the plus years of living on the shores of the Potomac, the Mahmoods have hosted more parties and dinners than they can count. Many friendships have been cultivated over the years — from Jim Moran, the longtime Democratic congressman and early mentor, to George Allen, the former Republican governor who lives just down the shoreline. Dozens of rich and famous guests have been seated at dinner next to scores of the not-so-rich and not-sofamous.
Ray and Shaista say that anyone is welcome in their home regardless of wealth, political views, station in life or religious beliefs. They have become just as well known in the region for their support of interfaith activities, and once a year they put together a large guest list for an iftar dinner — a celebration, they say, of all the Abrahamic faiths.
The tradition has continued and caught on, as high-level guests have subsequently hosted interfaith iftars in their own corporate, political and social circles. The importance of recognizing people of. Ray and Shaista Mahmood are financial supporters of the Community School in Islamabad, which provides meals, clothing, shelter and an education for Pakistani boys and girls. But that apprehension diminished with time, and when then-Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes came for a visit, they asked what they could do to relieve tensions between the U.
Ray suggested taking a group of Pakistani-Americans to Islamabad at no cost to the U. Ray and Shaista, by then American citizens for many years, had never forgotten their origins in Karachi and Lahore, and they quickly decided to take a trip back to Pakistan with a two-fold agenda. The first item on that agenda was to play a small part in easing the animosity and suspicion between the U.
The second item on their agenda was realizing that even though they had been living the American dream, most of the rest of the world did not. The employment rate was somewhere around 53 to 54 percent. Accordingly, unemployment numbers have come down. We inherited an unemployment rate of He also points out that much of this job growth has occurred in the private sector, while the number of people employed in the public sector has shrunk.
Growth in the employment rate has occurred across the EU, reaching The Washington Diplomat contacted Trading Economics to obtain clarification on the discrepancy but had no immediate response. Others worked for an hour a day and then went home. Gyorgy Molnar, a specialist in workfare at. The Hungarian government has already taken steps towards encouraging Hungarians to stay in the country and to have more children. In , the government announced generous subsidies for couples who buy or build a home. Both have taken great risk to give a strong voice and a helping hand to the victims of unimaginable horrors.
Murad was captured by the Islamic State in Iraq in and forced to serve as a sex slave to militants alongside thousands of other Yazidi women. She escaped, fled to Germany has since pushed through the trauma of being raped and tortured — and losing her mother and six brothers — to become a global activist against rape and human trafficking. Women and girls are more vulnerable.
And they are affected by war and conflict in a different way than men and boys are. Reactions to the decision this year by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, an independent institution with members elected by the Parliament of Norway, have been overwhelmingly positive throughout the world. The topic is seen as timely, and the candidates could hardly be more worthy. One of the reasons is that Alfred Nobel — a 19th-century Swedish scientist and inventor of dynamite — never defined clear and specific criteria for choosing a candidate.
Not all recipients of the prize have been awarded. In fact, most of them have not. The Nobel Peace Prize has time and again been awarded as an acknowledgement of the efforts of an individual or institution to achieve peace, rather than for a successful result. The Peace Prize is, more often than not, used as a tool to encourage the promotion of peace. The Nobel Peace Prize continues to enjoy remarkable prestige to this day. One explanation for this may be that, in the course of its century-long existence, it has obtained a position of seniority among the many prizes that exist today.
And, contrary to most other awards and recognitions, the Nobel Peace Prize belongs to a family of prizes. Together the five prizes instituted by Alfred Nobel carry an enormous weight. There are several possible answers to this question. Some point to the fact that Nobel was a true internationalist, having spent part of his childhood in Russia and later living and working in many countries.
National borders mattered little to. And people throughout the world will continue to have strong opinions on who is most deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize, sparking a healthy debate on our ever-changing notions of global peace. There are now patients under investigation for acute flaccid myelitis AFM , an increase of 33 patients since last week, said Dr.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC researchers have confirmed 90 cases in 27 states, an additional 10 since last week, Messonnier said. Most patients are children between the ages of 2 and 8, she said. About half had only upper limb involvement. CDC is a sciencedriven agency. Enteroviruses and rhinoviruses were found in about half of respiratory or stool specimens taken from patients.
In addition, researchers found one each of two leading viral suspects — enteroviruses D68 and A71 — in spinal fluid samples taken from two patients with confirmed AFM, Messonnier said. One patient was an adult on immunosuppressive drugs, and the other a child who had very rapid progression of paralysis. But the CDC cannot rule out other infections as potential causes.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about acute flaccid myelitis at www. Acute flaccid myelitis first appeared in , when children across 34 states were stricken with mysterious muscle weakness. Another wave hit in , with patients affected in 39 states. Talking about potential causes, Messonnier noted that the AFM spike in was associated with an outbreak of enterovirus D But in , there was no large outbreak of either D68 or A Of course, we still have plenty of tangible treats to wrap and hand over, too.
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Funk Dec. Participants pay as they go or opt for package deals or even private and semi-private lessons. The threeday, four-night getaway includes yoga, hiking, a cooking class, a wine tasting class and a vineyard tour. It also includes all meals paired with wine. Upcoming retreat dates are Jan. Know someone with a sweet tooth who also loves to bake? The fully customizable Milk ID baking class lets students select from various Milk Bar cake flavors to create their own special multilayered confection chock full of icing, filling, crumbs and toppings. It lets members try out all kinds of classes — yoga, cycling, barre, high-intensity interval training — in person at local gyms and from anywhere through streamed videos.
ClassPass works in 50 cities, so frequent travelers can stay on point with their fitness routines. The higher price reflects a session with Gomez himself. Winter and summer weather can a toll on the skin. Designed to combat the harmful effects of UV radiation, humidity, pollution and more, the monthly treatments aim to restore pH and hydration levels.
The Mall Recovery Massage at Ritz-Carlton After a holiday shopping spree, return aching muscles to peak condition with this tension-relieving treatment, which uses cooling spearmint and therapeutic rosemary to refresh and revitalize the body, along with exfoliation, a full body massage and foot reflexology. Luxe Lane Manicure at Varnish Lane Founded by a motherdaughter team, this nail and waxing salon is waterless, which removes the risk of waterborne infection and saves up to 15 gallons of water per service. Fingers and toes are instead cleaned with all-natural oil cleansers and warm towels.
This particular treatment starts with that and is followed by nail shaping, buffing and cuticle care. Next, the technician exfoliates the hands with a natural sugar scrub and moisturizes with paraffin wax, all followed by a massage before the polish is applied.
During production, the team sugar-cures and slow-smokes the ham so it can simply be heated and served at holiday dinner. Order it online and pick up in the store or have it shipped. Named D. The menu changes regularly, but to get an idea, the recent online one listed Maine bluefin tuna sashimi, braised oysters and seared foie gras, and a dessert called Moroccan Memory with orange-scented semolina cake, poached quince, pomegranate and honey-almond ice cream.
This box of 16 tiny treats includes up to four flavors, such as milk chocolate, pistachio, rose water and salted caramel. The boxes are available for shipping, delivery or in-store pickup. This all-inclusive tableside presentation is available only on Dec. Tea sandwiches include an English cucumber with tomato and mint, farmhouse egg salad with Bibb lettuce, and salmon and lemon chive cream cheese.
Confections include warm orange and cherry scones with Devonshire cream and organic strawberry preserve, chocolate choux puffs, and salted caramel macarons. It is 79 percent cabernet sauvignon, 7 percent cabernet franc, 6 percent merlot and the rest petit verdot and malbec. Flavor descriptions say it has aromas of berries, wood, flowers and sweet tobacco. This James Beard-nominated craft cocktail bar offers a seasonal menu of light bites paired with signature drinks. They include a martini made with gin, coconut oil and dry vermouth, along with a Manhattan made of bonded whiskey, dry vermouth, Amaro liquor, turmeric and beets.
She was chief of staff to Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in The pants are made with medium-weight bi-stretch woven fabric and have four pockets. The year-old Harry Kotlar brand of hand-fabricated diamond jewelry recently partnered with D. The boutique will feature one-of-a-kind museum pieces, each representing seven decades of world artistry. But for some not-quite-everyday sparkle, the Sunflower Bloom vault diamond cluster earrings are just what Santa or Hanukkah Harry ordered.
Set in platinum, the diamonds weigh 3. Delsey Luggage Chatelet Soft Air Shoulder Bag This vintage-inspired bag with a chevron pattern fabric and vegan leather trim is lined with Bordeaux fabric and has a hidden, zipped front pocket for quickly and safely storing travel documents. The shoulder bag also has three zippered compartments plus a laptop sleeve. Knockdown Club Collar Golf Sweater at Bonobos Keep your favorite golfer comfortable on the course with this 60 percent cotton, 40 percent Coolmax sweater. Ribbed details make it interesting, and the quarter zip at the collar lets the wearer customize the look.
The slim-fit sweater is available in charcoal marl and pale gray. Please note that shopping is available by appointment. The scent draws on notes of Italian bergamot, Meyer lemon, cracked clove, black peppercorn, leather and vanilla. The kit also comes with sample-size packets of the body wash, a face scrub, Beard Destroyer Shave Cream, Best for Last Aftershave, and the Shavior for razor burn and bump relief. Give it a try with this Secret Agent Experience in which four participants or, rather, adrenaline junkies fly to Las Vegas on a private jet for a three-day adventure organized by The Invictus Experience.
It includes activities such as skydiving and racing cars alongside Special Operations Forces veterans who are free-fall parachutists, combatant divers and reconnaissance Marines. Then they recharge at the Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas for the night. Available in black, red and yellow, this aluminum scooter with a battery-powered motor can go up to 20 miles per hour and has a brake and front headlight. Fully charged, the lithium battery lets riders zip around for 30 miles before it needs to be recharged.
The TV optimizes sound for each scene, adjusts brightness to the room and customizes content recommendations. FeiyuTech G6 Plus This portable gimbal is built to support all cameras in the g range and is compatible with GoPro, smartphones, pocket video cameras and micro-single lens reflex cameras. SIRIScan Mouse It looks and feels like a regular computer mouse, but it also has a portable dpi resolution scanner that can be activated with the push of a button. Users swipe the mouse over a paper document and the images appear on the computer screen. Know someone uber girly? Options include an afternoon tea for kids and dolls, mommy-and-me manis and pedis, and an American Girl movie and popcorn night.
Got a kid who wants to be an American Ninja Warrior? Take them to this multi-attraction indoor playground and let them test their skills on a warped wall, rock walls, trampolines, and low- and high-ropes courses. Equipment is designed for children age 5 and up. Together, they will create holiday trees, mantelpieces, wreaths, menorahs and artwork — all available for purchase.
The group also vaccinates millions of children worldwide against diseases such as pneumonia and measles. Not sure where to give? Check out Global Giving which vets organizations and presents them by theme and country. Trading Places Economics has been her lifelong passion. But Isabel Fezas Vital, wife of Portuguese Ambassador Domingos Fezas Vital for 33 years and mother of their two grown sons, is taking a break from trade policy to discover newfound passions in D.
The Party Goes On Studio 54 was a shrine to disco, decadence and debauchery. Supermodels, musicians, politicians, actors, artists and anyone in the know converged on the exclusive nightclub during its brief heyday. The party may have ended, but the good times live on at the House of Sweden, where a new exhibit features rare photographs of the infamous club. Intricate Dance Billy Elliot the musical exposes the political turmoil of a British coal town in the s alongside the personal struggles of a young boy breaking the mold and discovering his true identity through dance.
Meanwhile, photographers increasingly embraced the new medium to document the social and economic changes upending their homeland. Sackler Gallery explore these evolutions through Japanese photographs and prints, illustrating how artists experimented with both media to capture a transformed nation. One image by Ishikawa Noboru reveals a simple scene of a woman and her two children bundled in winter clothes trudging through the snow, while Hirogane Yoshiro captures a barge plying its way down a canal past a blurry row of buildings.
As their expertise developed, Japanese photographers experimented with light exposure, unusual compositions and tonality, adopting styles popular among their American and European counterparts. Some photographers shifted to photojournalism after World War II, documenting the horrific aftermath of atomic blasts, the plight of poverty-stricken families and the unwelcome presence of U.
Another image by Tadahiko in shows two boys wearing filthy rags, their bare feet black with dirt, while one boy smokes a cigarette. How will their lives unfold after their childhoods have been scarred by war? The smaller exhibition of Japanese prints feels like an afterthought or a concession In the late s, Shomei Tomatsu traveled to U. During the Edo period from their communities. One photograph from shows a Japanese girl blowing up to , woodblock prints were extremely popular but their archaic representaa large balloon while a black American sailor stands behind her near a clutter of tions of a changing country fell out of favor as photography developed.
In another image, a prostitute glares death in marked the beginning of the end as many printmakers were forced to at the camera with smoke exhaling from both nostrils like a fiery dragon. One long turn to the tourist market in the early 20th century, creating nostalgic prints with garish colors that lacked any soul or depth. It took decades for printmakers to develop more modern artistic styles that delved Other photographers took a different tack with staged scenes that created surreal moments. Shoji Ueda photographed his friends and family amid the rugged beauty into abstraction and nonlinear forms.
Even then, the work on display in this exhibiof the remote Tottori and Shimane districts. Japanese photographers had forged is pictured in the corner of the frame with three men standing at different angles ahead with their own innovative work while printmaking was still mired in the past, on a stark white sand dune that cuts a sharp diagonal against a pitch-black slice of a relic of an earlier time.
WD sea. In another humorous triptych reminiscent of photos by Salvador Dali, Ueda is crouched next to his cat, holds it by the scruff of the neck and finally sits in a chair Brendan L. Smith is a freelance writer and mixed-media artist next to the cat. I was always sure. I liked math from the time I was little. As an older student, I liked macroeconomics best. Among her jobs, she has worked at the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on common trade policy and the implementation of free trade agreements.
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In , the country was sucked As a family, they came to the U. We rented a and continued to enact much-needed wife of Portuguese Ambassador Domingos Fezas Vital big car at the airport and drove all over for structural reforms, the economy reboundtwo weeks. Unemployment was slashed and the economy has we went to San Diego, where there is a large Portuguese community. We were four adults and four boys. We had a wonderful time. In New York, we went to see Times Square during rather her diplomatic ones. Your society is so lively and dynamic that days are Today, their sons are 32 and Diogo is an economist in London with J.
Morgan very busy. She is with Uber, and Fezas Vital said that among other things, she keeps busy with a monthly book club he hopes to move to Madrid soon to join her. Miguel lives in Belgium and works in for diplomatic spouses and monthly lunches with other EU spouses. I love museums and For Christmas, everyone meets at the family home in Lisbon.
In usually celebrate with our relatives and several other families who are our friends. Washington, there are so many things to discover, so much to do. I like having the My mother always brings Bacalhau, a dried and salted codfish that she has soaked. I am curious about multicultural places. In my Her husband also appreciates D. A fan of all kinds childhood, there was always a small toy hidden inside. They may find them in Europe but they will be more expensive. Every day goes by very quickly here. In Washington, there are so many things to discover, so much to do.
I like having the opportunity to be part of the conversation. People are able to live there and make the short commute to work in Lisbon. We are welcoming foreigners with special tax rates.