Remembering Rajiv Gandhi (Article) (Part-I)

August 20th, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Rajiv was also convinced that India had a great role to play in world Affairs. He established close relationships with President Reagan and the Russian leadership. President Gorbachev visited India and interacted with Rajiv Gandhi on the promotion of Perestroika, which changed the Cold War atmosphere. Rajiv wanted to end the violence in Sri Lanka. He sent his emissaries to get in touch with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, particularly their leader Pirabhakaran, and sought to find a solution to the problem faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka. He worked behind the scenes in Bangalore with President Jayawardene of Sri Lanka for a peace accord in that country. He succeeded in doing so, even though it was not supported by the hardliners. He was attacked by a Sri Lankan soldier, when he went to Colombo to sign the accord. The LTTE was assured a role in the new federal set up to look after the problems of the Tamils. But there were hardliners among the Tamils who did not support the accord. Ultimately, the conflict erupted, and still does not seem to come to an end. The issue also claimed the life of Rajiv in 1991. Rajiv was known as Mr. Clean. He was against the Permit-Licence Raj, for liberalization, and never thought there was any need for corruption. He refused to believe that money changed hands in the Bofors gun deal that India concluded with Sweden on the eve of his visit to that country. The Bofors gun deal, according to reports involved a kickback of 64 crore rupees, and the initial Swedish Radio report linked it to elements close to the Prime Minister. The report was denied, but the controversy dogged the Rajiv Gandhi Government till the end of its term in 1989. I recall my conversation with late Narasimha Rao in 2003 that the biggest loss that India suffered was the death of Rajiv Gandhi. Narasimha Rao said that Rajiv Gandhi would have provided leadership to the country for at least two decades, and his loss was the greatest that the country had suffered. In India we believe that whenever the country faces danger there emerges a great man. Rajiv was one of them.. When will we have another? I. Ramamohan Rao, former Principal Information Officer, Governement of India. E.-mail : (ANI)

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