Jaishankar hits out at Pompeo for calling Sushma Swaraj ‘goofball’ & “heartland political hack”
Taking exception to former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s certain remarks regarding India’s late External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said “I deplore the disrespectful colloquialism used for her.” India’s External Affairs Minister’s sharp reaction on Wednesday came a day after Mike Pompeo’s remarks in his book launched on Tuesday said he never saw his counterpart Sushma Swaraj as an “important political player“. Pompeo described the late Sushma Swaraj, his then counterpart as a “goofball”, and “heartland political hack“.
Pompeo said he got along famously with current External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, hitting it off with him in their first meeting itself. “I have seen a passage in Secretary Pompeo’s book referring to Smt Sushma Swaraj ji. I always held her in great esteem and had an exceptionally close and warm relationship with her. I deplore the disrespectful colloquialism used for her,” Jaishankar said.
In his latest book ‘Never Give an Inch: Fighting for America I Love‘ which hit the stores on Tuesday, Pompeo describes Sushma Swaraj somewhat disparagingly, using the American slang words “goofball” and “heartland political hack” for her. Sushma Swaraj served as external affairs minister from May 2014 to May 2019. She died in August 2019.
“On the Indian side, my original counterpart was not an important player on the Indian foreign policy team. Instead, I worked much more closely with National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, a close and trusted confidant of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” 59-year-old Pompeo writes in his book.
A confidant of then-US president Donald Trump, Pompeo was the CIA Director in his administration from 2017 to 2018 and then served as the Secretary of State from 2018 to 2021. “My second Indian counterpart was Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. In May 2019, we welcomed “J” as India’s new foreign minister. I could not have asked for a better counterpart. I love this guy. English is one of the seven languages he speaks, and he is somewhat better than mine,” writes the former top American diplomat, who is now exploring the possibility of a 2024 presidential run.
“Professional, rational, and a fierce defender of his boss and his country,” is how Pompeo described Jaishankar. “We hit it off immediately. In our first meeting, I was bemoaning, in a very diplomatic speech, that his predecessor had not been particularly helpful,” he said.
“He (Jaishankar) said that he could see why I had trouble with his predecessor, a goofball and a heartland political hack. “Careful, I’m a heartland political hack!” I replied in jest. He laughed, noting that if that were true, it would make me the first heartland political hack who had ever been an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Well played, J,” Pompeo said. J here stands for Jaishankar.
In his book, Pompeo also says American neglect of India was a decades-long bipartisan failure. “We are natural allies, as we share a history of democracy, a common language, and ties of people and technology. India is also a market with enormous demand for American intellectual property and products. These factors, plus its strategic location in South Asia, made India the fulcrum of my diplomacy to counteract Chinese aggression,” he writes.
“In my mind, a counter-China bloc made up of the United States, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the European Union would have an economic weight at least three times that of China. I chose to devote serious quantities of time and effort to help make India the next great American ally,” Pompeo says.
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