Modi: US’ Pyongyang Mediator?

May 21 2018

General (Retd) VK Singh, state minister for foreign affairs, is facing an opposition barrage over his recent and curious North Korea visit. Initially, the Central government had been highly secretive about the visit, but when a North Korean media agency released the pictures of the visit, the Centre hastily summoned up the excuse that Singh had been to Pyongyang for exchanging India’s Yoga expertise with North Korea’s traditional medicinal systems (why the health minister was not sent remains a key issue, though). But the Opposition has not bought into that frail argument. Instead, it alleges a misuse of India’s long-standing good relation with Pyongyang to smoothen down the feathers ruffled just before the summit between US president Donald Trump and North Korean maverick Kim Jong-un. Was Singh sent to pour oil on the troubled waters over the Modi government’s unseemly commitment to the recently romanced US? This seems BJP’s old habit that dies hard, for one will not forget that in 1998, under BJP’s Atal Behari Vajpayee regime, the then minister of state for Information & Broadcasting, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, had been sent to North Korea, an international pariah, to attend a film festival.

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