When Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had visited Delhi, Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner Sayed Haider visited her and conveyed her that the Imran Khan had sent his best wishes. Even before Hasina landed in Delhi, the Pakistan Prime Minister spoke to her over phone for about 15 minutes.
What is the big deal? This is general diplomacy. I spoke to an Indian officer, who was unwilling to accept this that straightforward. His question was, ‘Alright, did you know that Sheikh Hasina was invited by Imran Khan to Islamabad? ’
My answer was: How am I supposed to know what they have possibly discussed? Neither Sheikh Hasina nor Imran Khan had informed me what they have spoken about. But inviting to one’s own country is courteousness.
In the diplomatic circles such exchange has its meaning. Having covered it for decades, I understood what the talk was all about.
It is the timing of the call that is significant. Today India’s dispute with Pakistan is in extremes. Since 1971, when Bangladesh was formed after fighting the Liberation War with the Pakistan army, till today so many things have changed.
Pakistan wants to be friends with Bangladesh. China, Afghanistan, Iran all want to maintain a good relationship with Dhaka. Everyone knows about the importance of position of the small country situated in South Asia.
It has a tremendous impact concerning geographical strategy. It isn’t surprising for China, Pakistan, Russia to try form a good relation with Bangladesh.
India also wants to maintain a good relations with Bangladesh. It needs a proactive diplomacy to do that. It is precisely for this reason that Prime Minister is sending Vikram Doraiswami to Dhaka as the high commissioner. Harsh Vardhan Shringla was quite active as the High Commissioner in Dhaka. Under Shringla’s presence the importance of Indian High Commission in Dhaka increased. Even his dedication towards Bangladesh was unprecedented.
When he was the acting Joint Secretary of Bangladesh since then I have watched him to be most active, and Smita Pant a suitable junior officer of Shringla.
At the ground floor in South Block at Shringla’s office, when we used to talk about Bangladesh, he listened to new ideas. His down to earth approach was highly admirable. He always discarded the snobbish, aristocratic IFS-like incoherency.
This person from Darjeeling through the staircase of success from Bangladesh to the Ambassador in the United States and today has become state’s Foreign Secretary.
Meanwhile, Bengali diplomats like Riva Ganguly Das is being brought back in Delhi in the former post as secretary and instead Vikram Doraiswami is being sent. Despite being Tamil, he can speak a little Bengali. It is because his wife’s mother is Bengali and Mrs Doraiswami is comfortable in Bengali.
Vikram Doraiswami belongs to the Foreign Service batch of 1992. He was in charge of International Organizations and various summits. Today India has a lot of expectations from Vikram. Dhaka would also have put its expectations on Vikram. This radiant 45—year-young man was the personal secretary of Dr Manmohan Singh.
I have seen him closely work in the Race Course Road, outside Manmohan Singh’s chamber in a tiny room where he used to sit and do the work as his personal secretary. I’ve seen how he had gathered his experience in diplomacy from various countries. In our country from Indira to Rajiv even during the era of Narsimha Rao , there used to be only one personal secretary, and appointed an IAS that is Indian Administrative Service youth.
After Atal Bihari Bajpayee became the Prime Minister, IAS Brajesh Mishra became his principal secretary and National Security Advisor. He introduced the custom of the appointment of two personal secretaries of the Prime Minister. One an IAS who will look after country’s internal affairs, will maintain contact between the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Chief Ministers and Governors. The other one will be IFS , Foreign Ministry Officer. He will be the Prime Minister’s liaison with the Foreign Minister and all other statesmen in the world. Although Shakti Sinha was an IAS officer at that time, Ajay Bisaria of the Foreign Service became another Private Secretary. Today he is India High Commissioner in Pakistan. Manmohan Singh did not stop this custom after coming in power. Out of two private secretaries one of them was Vikram.
Vikram has done his graduation in History from Delhi University became. He then worked as a journalist. Hence in his DNA, there lies the espial capacity to that of a journalist. After the training ended in the year 1994, he went to Hong Kong. The institution in Hong Kong was under China University. In the year 1996 he went to Beijing. He worked there for four years. Later, Vikram became the Deputy Chief of Protocols in Delhi. Then in New York, he became a Political Counselor in Indian Permanent High Commission to the United Nations. In his careers he has had postings at various key places across the globe.
Today, when he is going to Dhaka, he is the favourite of Foreign Minister Jayashakar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla . Do you know why I am saying this? I am saying this because if there is a direct relationship at the top level, that diplomat can easily make many decisions in other countries. It will cut the bureaucratic red tape. He is one of the blue-eyed boys of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sheikh Hasina knows him well. Therefore, it will be easier to fulfill the demands and the issues in Bangladesh. Indo-Bangladesh relations is highly likely to be strengthened with Vikram’s Dhaka appointment.