|Mathai (Middle): Enjoying a Manipuri Dish|
He wants to demonstrate that New Delhi is working hard to bridge the gap between North-East and the rest of India. Ironically, as Mathai was in Imphal to address a two day-long international conference on India and her neighbours on August 16 and 17, hate SMSes in Bangalore forced 40,000 North-Easterners fleeing the city. But Mathai’s stunt must get applause. As he spoke at a gathering in Manipur University, he won the hearts of many youths belonging to boxing icon Mary Kom’s home state.
Other high profile guests in the meet included Piank Ranjan Chakravarty, special secretary in MEA, Daw Yin Yin Myint, Director General (Training) in research and foreign language in Government of Myanmar, Mahbub Hassan Saleh, Bangladesh’s deputy high commissioner, Dasho Tsering Wangda, Consul General, Royal Bhutanese Consulate to name a few.
Foreign secretary Mathai made two straight points. First, he made it clear that India would walk extra miles to maintain good relations with its neighbours. Secondly, he observed that India’s ties with its neighbours are “dynamic, not static”, indicating that it would re-engage with Myanmar.
He enthralled the gathering when he said the people from Manipur and other North Eastern states have already been looking eastward! Will Mathai's stunt inspire many more diplomats and bureaucrats to walk an extra mile?