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Secret Visit: First ministerial visit from India to Pyongyang since 1998

India and North Korea will mark 45 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year

Business Standard 

VK Singh
India's Minister of State for External Affairs, Vijay Kumar Singh | Photo: AP/PTI

Minister of State for External Affairs was in Pyongyang over the last couple of days. There was no word from the about the visit. It was the first ministerial visit from India to Pyongyang since 1998. The visit was a secret until a North Korean news agency published a photograph of the Indian minister with North Korean officials and India's ambassador to that country. Eventually, the MEA confirmed Singh’s visit. Among other issues, Singh discussed promotion of yoga and traditional Indian medicines in that country. India and North Korea will mark 45 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year.

Made for each other

In the fight over who should get the governor's call to form a government in Karnataka, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are using each other's words as ammo. The Bharatiya Janata Party has dug out a 2017 tweet by Congress leader Randeep Surjewala in which he had said: “9 Judges SR Bommai’s case clearly decided that ‘single largest party has to be called to form the government’. Why is Modiji trampling democracy?”. On its part, Congress is using a Arun Jaitley tweet from last year to bolster the party's position that the rule that applied in Goa, Meghalaya and Manipur, should also apply to Karnataka. After the Goa election, Jaitley had tweeted: “In a hung assembly, if majority of the elected MLAs form a coalition, the Governor would be constitutionally right in inviting the leader of the majority coalition to form the government and prove their majority within a short period.”

Difficult after divorce

Friends turned foes can prove to be difficult. Consider the recently concluded Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, after his party's bitter divorce with the Narendra Modi government, appealed to Telugu voters in Karnataka to vote against the Bharatiya Janata Party. After the counting on Tuesday, the Telugu Desam Party shared its “analysis” of how Naidu's appeal ensured the BJP's defeat in constituencies with significant Telugu population. Of the 46 constituencies with more than 50,000 Telugu voters, the BJP could win only five, while the Congress won 32 and (Secular) nine. "The BJP and the Modi government denied special category status to AP which hurt the sentiments of the Telugu people," a TDP spokesperson said.

First Published: Wed, May 16 2018. 22:18 IST