Indians have an abiding interest in debates, discussions and arguments, which are often endless. The live telecast of parliamentary proceedings bears witness to our argumentative nature. It is part of our tradition that forms the basis of our democracy. It is no wonder that we interpret the various aspects of the Indo-U.S. civil nuclear deal in many ways. But Ronen Sen, India’s Ambassador to the U.S., does not seem to appreciate this.
His comment that our parliamentarians are running around like headless chickens is most uncharitable. That one of our own men living abroad should have described a section of our elected leaders thus is unfortunate.
R. Paul Mohan, Madurai
It was extremely irresponsible of Mr. Sen to rebuke those opposing the nuclear deal. It is possible that he made his comments out of frustration as one who was among the leading negotiators of the deal. But what we need to hear from our mission in Washington is the voice of India, not the voice of America.
J. Akshobhya, Mysore
Mr. Sen’s “headless chicken” remark has added fuel to the fire. It will only create further embarrassment for the Manmohan Singh government. It appears that Mr. Sen is the United States’ ambassador to India.
Deepak Kumar, New Delhi
It is most unfortunate that a seasoned career diplomat should have termed all those opposing the 123 agreement headless chickens. Even if his comment was off the record, it was eminently unwarranted. Mr. Sen forgot the basic values of diplomacy and statesmanship while expressing his views.
Ushadevi & S.B. Rao, Muscat, Oman
Mr. Sen has clearly exceeded his brief. His belated apology is typical of the apologies tendered by bureaucrats and politicians when cornered with no escape route. Accusing the author of the news article of misquoting him does not behove his status as the ambassador to the most powerful country.
Capt. T. Raju (retd.), Secunderabad
After sneering at the politicians, Mr. Sen claims he has been misquoted, quoted out of context and what he said was off the record. It is surprising that a man who has worked for decades in the foreign service should have been so abrasive in responding to the criticism of the nuclear deal. It is for the government to demonstrate that bureaucrats are not free to lampoon the political establishment. There is only one way it can do so and that is by naming a new ambassador to the U.S.
K.S. Jayatheertha, Bangalore
Mr. Sen’s remarks are in bad taste. They have been made at a time when the whole nation is engaged in a debate on the deal and a majority of the people’s representatives are opposed to its operationalisation. Although Mr. Sen has tendered an apology, the fact that the unsavoury remarks were made by one holding a high and responsible post has set a bad precedent.
B. Suresh Kumar, Coimbatore
In a democracy, elected representatives voice the views of the millions they represent. As our Constitution does not provide for a referendum on any issue of national importance, the MPs have to discuss issues both in and outside Parliament. The Indian ambassador should be recalled for making intemperate remarks. An apology will not suffice.
S.P. Kumar, Chennai
Mr. Sen should learn to respect democracy in which people’s representatives have every right to seek clarification and detailed discussions on an issue, especially when there is some ambiguity.
V. Vijayendra Rao, Neyveli
The Ronen Sens and his tribe, both present and past, and their corporate think-alikes should be commended for burning the midnight oil in negotiating a deal with the greatest friend of India. Should not the strategy of aligning with the muscleman for survival be applauded, unlike the outdated Leftist ideology of liberation that calls for inclusive growth? Why should we support Iraq, Iran, Palestine, North Korea, Cuba and others and earn the wrath of the global village headman? Hail the drumbeaters of the Big Brother!
Kasim Sait, Chennai