I. K. Gujral

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I. K. Gujral

I. K. Gujral, born Inder Kumar Gujral (December 4, 1919November 30, 2012) was an Indian politician who served as the thirteen Prime Minister of India from April 1997 to March 1998.

Quotes[edit]

  • It fell to my lot to orient our foreign policy during the period of bewilderingly rapid changes wherein one kind of world was ushered out and another kind was ushered in.
    • In: C. Raja Mohan An enduring diplomat, The Hindu, 9 February 2003
    • When he steered India's foreign policy at crucial junctures in 1989-91 and again during 1996-98

The Rediff Interview/I K Gujral[edit]

The Rediff Interview/I K Gujral, Rediff.com

  • ...some parts of India were subject to militancy sponsored from across the border. The problems are in the northeast and the in north, it affects Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. I do not know for what reason previous central governments had decided that all the expenses incurred in fighting terrorism be debited to the state governments. This is wrong. Because wherever terrorism strikes, it destabilises the whole of India. It is an attack on India. I had promised that whatever expenses are incurred will be taken care of by the central government.
  • After the tests [Nuclear tests by India], I had said there was no imminent danger to India's security environment which necessitated us to undertake the tests. But the tests have taken place. Therefore, naturally, as a member of the nation, I have to see the situation in the post-nuclear age. It is now no use discussing whether the tests should have been undertaken or not. But India's nuclear policy from 1988, in fact from 1974, is totally justified.
  • In my 10 months as prime minister, I made seven trips to Kashmir. Militancy reduced greatly during the UF rule.
  • The Gujral doctrine is a doctrine of good neighbourliness. In South Asia, India is the largest country and the largest economy. All the countries of the neighbourhood put together cannot match India. Therefore, it is my doctrine, that in the post-Cold War era, all the neighbours must look up to India as a friendly neighbour. For doing so, if concessions have to be given, they should. But these concessions do not include two things: no transfer of sovereignty of any part of India, including Kashmir; and second, we will not compromise on our basic secular, democratic polity. Minus these two factors, we are willing to give concessions as long as it does not hurt our defence.
  • We are a huge country, with different linguistic, religious and cultural backgrounds. Despite our difficulties, we have held together, and that too democratically, which is something few others can boast about. In that sense we are a great role model.

About I. K. Gujral[edit]

I. K. Gujral
  • He was a skilful parliamentarian who had an uncanny grasp of the manoeuvrings within the different parties. This, coupled with charm, persuasiveness and an ability to get on with politicians of all parties, made him a formidable force in political crises. Although his periods in office were brief and the governments of the time chronically unstable, he made a fundamental change in India's foreign policy.
  • He always knew which way the camel would lie down. This old Urdu saying was particularly applicable to Gujral who had a deep love of Urdu poetry.
  • On one occasion when he was prime minister, the usually emollient Gujral lost his cool. On a visit to Pakistan, just before visiting India, the British foreign minister, Robin Cook, suggested that Britain might mediate between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. When questioned about this by Egyptian intellectuals, Gujral described Britain as "a third-rate power nursing delusions of the grandeur of its past.
  • An important immediate gain of the new doctrine [Gujral Doctrine] was the resolution of the longstanding dispute with Bangladesh over the sharing of the Ganges water. His skill as a politician was demonstrated when he won support for the agreement from the communist chief minister of West Bengal. It was the state most affected by the agreement and had consistently blocked earlier proposed settlements.
  • Each of these five propositions is intrinsically sound. Each is wise. Each is capable of implementation. Taken collectively, they constitute a practical and principled foundation for regional cooperation and security. I endorse them without reservation and I express the hope, the fervent hope of all of us in other five countries of the region, that India and Pakistan will see in these principles the way forward for them on the path of friendship and peace.
    • Lakshman Kadirgamar's observations on Gujral Dictrine as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, at his Krishna Menon Memorial lecture delivered at Kota, Rajasthan in December 1996 quoted in :Democracy, Sovereignty and Terror: Lakshman Kadirgamar on the Foundations of International Order"
  • He is remembered for the Gujral Doctrine, a policy grounded on India’s unilaterally reaching out diplomatically to its neighbours without the expectation of reciprocity. Despite his brief tenure, he made his mark by introducing the Gujral Doctrine, which set the stage for countless negotiations in subsequent years. In 1998 he was elected again to the Lok Sabha.
  • As prime minister, he extended his doctrine to Pakistan. He held a historic meeting with the Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif at which they agreed that the two countries must keep talking. The agreement was sealed with words from an Urdu poet: "May our conversation never end, may one thing lead to another." In spite of events that could well have permanently derailed the conversation, it still continues and there have been positive results.
  • He may not have been a popular leader, but it was his diplomacy and ability to keep friends across political borders that helped him stay afloat in various posts and elevated him to the post of Prime Ministership....His expertise in foreign affairs remained throughout his tenure and the 'Gujral Doctrine‘ on how India should deal with her neighbours reaped accolades for India.
  • With the appointment of Mr Gujral, after two successive prime ministers from south India, the political power base has again shifted to the traditional cattle-rearing land of the north.
    • Jan McGirk in: "Indian intrigue on hold as PM is sworn in"
  • As India's representative, he personally met with Saddam Hussein. His hug with Hussein during the meeting remains a matter of controversy.
    • Punjab News Express in: Remembering IK Gujral Punjab News Express, 30 November 2012
    • After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent events that led to the first Gulf War of January 1991.
  • He was a member of the Club of Madrid, an independent non-profit organization composed of 81 democratic former Presidents and Prime Ministers from 57 different countries.
    • Punjab News Express in: "Remembering IK Gujral"
  • He was an avid lover of Urdu language. He was appointed as the Chairman of Gujral Committee in the 1970s. The committee was envisaged the task of finding means and ways to promote the Urdu language and to provide adequate facilities for Urdu speaking people in educational, cultural and administrative matters....Gujral will long be remembered as a seasoned diplomat, articulate speaker and a true champion of the masses. MANUU owes a lot to this inspiring personality.

External links[edit]

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