Government of India’s $360,000 a year lobbyists in Washington, D.C., BGR Group has lined up conservative media to interview India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj after her address to the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Invited are conservative media pillar Sean Hannity, host of Hannity, on Fox News; the eminence grise of conservative opinion-makers, Gerard Baker, deputy editor in chief, The Wall Street Journal; and Paul Gigot, editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, arguably the most influential conservative journalist.
BGR’s principals Walker Roberts and Edward M Rogers, Jr., are at hand to greet and lead the threesome to hotel’s business lounge.
Hannity leads the way, “Minister Swaraj, Pakistan was officially placed on the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] ‘grey list’ in June this year, failing it’s efforts to curb anti-terror financing.
“Minister Swaraj, you certainly live in a very dangerous neighborhood… a nuclear-armed neighbor.”
Swaraj beams, “Sean, thank you for saying what I was about to say. You can imagine living beside an Islamic nuclear country. India cannot and will not pursue any talks in the midst of terrorist bloodshed with a nation that glorifies killers and refuses to see the blood of innocents.”
Gerard Baker enters the conversation, “We keep seeing that Pakistan continues talking about Kashmir. What about the violence going on there?”
Swaraj drawing a sarcastic smile, adds, “You know Pakistan has been squeaking this hollow tune, the Kashmir issue in the UNGA for the last 70 years. It is an excuse for provocations. Now they have issued postage stamps glorifying an Islamic terrorist. Despite that they have the gall to spread lies that we are brutalizing Kashmiris. I tell you that it is blatant lie because Kashmir is an integral part of India and shall ever remain so. As a sovereign nation we have the right to run our own country. So we are dealing with Indian citizen; don’t call them Kashmiris.
“Gerard you have the great example of our common friend Israel how it is accused of dealing with the non-people, the so-called Palestinians, who are not even their citizen. For [monkey-god] Hanuman’s sake, let free countries be free.”
Hannity is quick to add, “Countries, like ours who value freedom, have the right to be free.”
Swaraj instantly builds on it, “Sean, good that you mentioned freedom. I tell you that this new government in Pakistan is headed by a Taliban-sympathizer; and one whose wife wears a burqa… you can hardly see her eyes… you know this anti-woman contraption you see in Iran. It is scary. Where do you see freedom?
“You know many tourists Pakistan gets! Who will go to a place where there is no freedom? You know an innocent Indian, sort of doing them a favor, Kulbhushan Jadhav visits there … he was carrying our navy’s ID card too, and they make such a fuss over him. Not only they keep calling him an example of India exporting terrorism to its neighboring countries, but also they want to execute him. Poor chap is a family man.”
Gigot, not letting the pace get any slower, asks, “This is outrageous, and I heard that the new guy, Imran Khan, says that he wants to promote tourism! Wow!
“So is Pakistan putting money into arms?”
Swaraj gleefully says, “What money? Pakistan and money! You must’ve heard that recently they had to auction off government cars and buffaloes to pay for something.
“Paul if you are talking arms buying, it has to be India. Our foreign exchange reserves are more than $400 billion; and I am not talking about things like our gold holdings and all.
“We are most welcoming to arms sales. If you have the weapons, we are there. India welcomes all weapons collaboration. Any of your companies are free to join any Indian company…even ice-cream makers can enter the missiles or chemical weapons, or any sector. You know we even paired France’s Dassault with a general manufacturing company.
“You have heard how this Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was telling that the United States should not lose time-tested old friends. Really! You are selling off cattle… buffaloes… and you can’t even afford to buy American needles, and you are telling the United States to value old friends.”
Hannity offers, “Minister Swaraj, you are right. Asking us to remember old friends and doing stuff with China!”
This is another gem for Swaraj, “You know this multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which Pakistan keeps claiming will play a key role in highlighting its geopolitical place in the world. But you know and we know that it is really an anti-American and anti-Indian adventure, giving China the strategic advantage.”
Hannity concluding the meeting, declares, “Indeed, Pakistan acts like a misbehaving child.”