Friday, August 7, 2020
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Buy One, Get One Free!

In his first media interaction after becoming External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar delivered his opening remarks to the media detailing his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extempore. Years of training as a diplomat stood Jaishankar in good stead as he articulated India’s views on various issues concerning bilateral ties. Jaishankar even managed to draw chuckles from journos when, in response to a question, he remarked: “But, if Secretary Pompeo doesn’t mind, I want to barge into his question a little bit and give you sort of buy-one-get-one-free answer.” The question had been put to Pompeo about issues that have bedevilled bilateral trade. Jaishankar explained things thus: “Look, if you trade with somebody, and particularly they’re your biggest trading partners, it’s impossible that you don’t have trade issues. But I think the sign of a mature relationship is that ability to negotiate your way through that and find common ground. Perhaps that’s not been as effective as it could and should have been in the recent past, but I think both of us are leaving this meeting convinced that we both need to tell our governments that they need to try harder and make sure this happens.”