Have been watching our foreign minister, with serious, unsmiling, professional face, meeting world leaders, and having our newspapers report, how he’s told some world leader off, or put some other diplomat in his place, and we applaud, forgetting our news will never report the response he’s got, or mention how other countries view our policies.

And he’s been making some strange bedfellows; two of them, Russia and Iran.

Even as we Indians boast of our rich heritage, our wonderful culture and traditional warm heartedness, the world is puzzled by the kind of countries we are suddenly befriending.

As the old adage goes, we are known by the friends we keep.

And do we want to be known as friends of Iran and Russia? Do they share our values?

I think not.

Russia, huge and powerful, trying to annihilate little Ukraine shows itself a bully! Are we such? Historically never. We’ve never tried to invade or take over the land of another country. We’ve been, till date, peace-loving and have even successfully won our freedom using non-violent methods.

How then do we befriend a bully?

Or Iran for that matter, a country where women have lost their equality, where people are not allowed to think, or voice their thoughts. A country, which has silenced protestors, especially of the fairer gender by kidnapping them, and very often making them disappear!

Is this the type of nation we should be befriending?

Birds of a feather flock together, is an old adage, but are we of their feather? If not, why are we flocking together?

We need to look at ourselves as we shape our foreign policies. What kind of people are we? Friendly or hostile? Democratic or authoritarian? Pro poor or pro rich? Compassionate or cunning? Harsh or gentle?

Those are the characteristics we need to search for when we send our serious looking, unsmiling foreign minister on his foreign jaunts.

Of course to look for such friends we might need a different kind of a foreign minister, one who’s able to read people, and know what’s in their heart, and not just what is in their crafty minds. And as we look for such a minister, man or woman, and since we have a few weeks left with this same man, here’s some work for you sir:

Catch a flight, go to Germany, and use all your cleverness, sharpness and skill with languages and there with all the earnestness and determination your demeanour outwardly portrays, see you extradite and bring home to jail Prajwal Revanna, allegedly the world’s largest serial rapist, an MP connected to your own party.

Meanwhile, let us look for a new foreign minister, not clever, cunning, or a chanakya but one who will look round the world and build friendships for India, with like minded nations, so we’ll be proud to be known by friends we keep..!

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