Apology of little use

The derogatory remarks made by Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about Indians in general and Indira Gandhi in particular reveal the cavalier attitude adopted by U.S. dignitaries while dealing with their foreign counterparts, especially from the developing countries. Mr. Kissinger's belated apology will do little to remove the bitterness invoked by the remarks.

J. Prasanth Kumar, Hyderabad

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Mr. Kissinger's explanation that his comments should be viewed in the context of the Cold War only shows that he and his boss were acting under stress, a woefully negative leadership quality. Clearly, their intemperate outbursts were the result of their intolerance of dissent and a conditioned incapability to appreciate others' viewpoint. In contrast, no Indian leader is reported to have used such disrespectful language against anyone, which is an eloquent testimony to true refinement.

D.V. Satish Kumar, Hindupur, A.P.

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Nixon's comment did not come as a surprise; after all, he was almost impeached in connection with the Watergate scandal. However, the revelation about the Harvard professor was a surprise. That he was given the Nobel Prize for peace is an irony. For once one feels the Nobel Committee has done a great service to Gandhi by not giving him the peace prize.

R. Pratap, Kochi, Kerala

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While the expletives used by the two leaders were unfortunate, so is the row over them. The U.S., if anything, should be appreciated for making public the declassified documents.

Rex S. Arul, Smyrna, Georgia

* * *

Indira Gandhi was aware that despite all its tough posturing, the Nixon administration would not rush to Pakistan's help in 1971. In fact, the U.S. would have been only too happy to see India or Pakistan considerably weakened after the war. In all the India-Pakistan wars, Americans have been content playing the role of a diplomatic third party.

The battle of the Allied forces against Adolf Hitler and that of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela against imperialism are some examples of true courage. Indira Gandhi's courage was not in the same league.

T.S. Pattabhi Raman, Coimbatore

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