Rahul Gandhi embarked on a rather bewildering rant at an event in Singapore on Thursday as he started off wanting to make a complaint about the "BJP's foreign policy in general", but used Jammu and Kashmir -- hardly a foreign location -- as an example, and ended with talking about how it wouldn't lead to the creation of jobs.
The Congress president began by saying that the BJPs foreign policy was tactical and episodic, not strategic, and that this was his complaint. To elaborate his point, rather than speaking about matters related to foreign policy or his grouse with 'hugplomacy', he recounted a non-linear story about Jammu and Kashmir and how the Modi government wasn't talking to anyone there. His eventual point was that this wouldn't "get you jobs".
"One complaint I have of the BJP's foreign policy in general is that it's very tactical and episodic. It's not strategic. That's a broad point. 2004, we were handed a Jammu and Kashmir which was on fire, when we came to power. Hundreds of people dying. Terrorism. Violence. And Manmohan Singh ji sat down with a couple of us and we made a plan and we worked on it for 9 years. And the plan was 'how do you build bridges between people.' And this was not me alone, this wasn't the prime minister alone. It was hundreds and hundreds of people working quietly behind the scenes."
"In 2014, I went to Jammu and Kashmir and I felt like crying. Because I saw what a bad political decision can do to years and years and years of work. The BJP made an alliance between them and the PDP and it blew the place up. And what it's done is open the door for forces that are against India, and it's created a serious strategic problem for my country. Now this stuff doesn't run in the papers, it doesn't work in bytes, but this is the truth."
Rahul Gandhi went on to narrate a story of speaking with an MLA from Punjab who used to be a terrorist but is now making laws. "You engage people, you trust people, you bring people in, you believe in people... it works. With the harshest of people."
"So it's very easy to pretend that you'll have simple solutions, but you won't have simple solutions."
Then he narrated a story of how people from Jammu and Kashmir apparently complained to him that "nothing is happening because 'they' don't talk to us anymore."
"How is dividing communities going to get you jobs? If you explain that to me, I'll buy it. If I divide this room, how are we going to build cooperation, how are we going to build a country."
"You go in, you carry people, you show them love and affection, they'll respond, every single time. You show them anger, you're nasty, they'll respond, every single time. So that to me is also the spirit of my country."
Earlier on Thursday, Rahul Gandhi visited the iconic INA memorial in Singapore and paid homage to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, who unveiled in 1945 the monument that commemorates the "Unknown Warrior" of the Indian National Army.
The 47-year-old is on a three-day trip to Singapore and Malaysia during which he will meet Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, besides interacting with the Indian community, and business leaders.