Jaishankar’s Pandavas reference on Pak, ‘Krishna, Hanuman top diplomats’ remark

When Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday unveiled the Marathi translation of his book – ‘The India Way’, China and Pakistan found a mention in his remarks as he held an interaction on global and national issues. Lord Krishna and Hanuman were the “Top diplomats”, he said in his comments while responding to a question on strategy. “I am making this comment in all seriousness. If you look at it in terms of strategy, and intelligence, they were all-purpose diplomats,” Jaishankar asserted.

For every top 10 global strategic concepts, the minister further pointed out, an equivalent from Mahabharata – the Hindu epic- can be presented. “At that time, it was a multipolar Bharat on the battlefield. Arjuna’s problem was a constraint that he was emotionally interdependent.” He also drew a parallel between relations with Pakistan and Lord Krishna’s strategy. “Today, we say we need to demonstrate strategic patience. The best example in this regard perhaps was Lord Krishna as an diplomats- how he tackled Shishupal, he forgave 100 times and then you know what happened”.


There are rules and boundaries that should be followed between nations, he said, stressing that Mahabharata had similar rules in the bigger picture. “Pandavas and Kauravas had a 7:11 proportion but intelligence and strategy was different. Reputation is extremely valuable in such cases. For larger good, sometimes tactical adjustments have to be made, and strategic deceptions have to be done. We use very heavy terms like trojan horse, Achilles heel. I don’t have a problem with usage of terms but if we really have to understand the Indian strategic culture, we have to go back to our own tales.”

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In response to another question, he said that India can’t choose its neighbours just like Pandavas could not choose their relatives. He was asked if a “rogue nation could be a liability or asset”. To this, he responded: “It is a reality to us. In life, you have what you have. Pandavas could not choose their relatives, we can’t choose our neighbours. Naturally, we hope good sense prevails…”

He also hit out at the opposition for spreading wrong information on China. “I can’t say why they (opposition leaders) do it to hide their lack of confidence. But yes, it’s political. They do it deliberately. They would not say that China captured our lands in 1962… they give an impression that it happened yesterday,” Jaishankar said in a tacit jibe at the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, who has intensified attacks on the government in the recent past. The BJP has previously slammed the grand old party over the 1962 war. “Sometimes, people say that we are lacking thought leadership. But even that means we look within… yes, it may be to do with self confidence,” he said.

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