Henry Kissinger died at his home in Connecticut. He was 100
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor described the death of Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State who played a key role in shaping diplomacy in the post-World War II world, as the "end of, by any definition, an extraordinary life".
Sharing a BBC report on the diplomat's death, Mr Tharoor said he was both a "pivotal and polarising" figure and added that it "helps to live long enough so people don't remember your earlier statements and actions!"
Kissinger died at his home in Connecticut yesterday. He was 100.
In his post on X, Mr Tharoor said, "The end of, by any definition, an extraordinary life. Henry Kissinger was indeed both a pivotal and a polarising figure, as this @BBC obituary states."
"For a few years in New York, I knew him well enough to be on first-name terms with him. I was still amazed how "Henry", the architect of the US tilt towards Pakistan in 1971, could morph with such insouciance into the most prominent advocate of closer US-India relations three decades later. It helps to live long enough so people don't remember your earlier statements and actions!," the Congress MP added.
Kissinger, regarded as a giant in statecraft and realpolitik, is often criticised for his disregard towards human rights abuses when they did not reconcile to diplomatic goals. A case in point is the 1971 India-Pakistan war that led to the creation of Bangladesh.
The then Richard Nixon-led US administration, with Kissinger as Secretary of State, had turned a blind eye to Islamabad's atrocities in East Pakistan, because Pakistan was a channel for a US outreach to China. This outreach was aimed at countering Soviet influence in south Asia. India's stand infuriated Nixon and his heated exchanges with Kissinger drew strong criticism after they were declassified.
The remarks included verbal abuses against then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Indians. In the declassified tapes, Nixon is heard referring to Mrs Gandhi as "old witch". Kissinger called her "b***h" and said Indians are "bastards". When the remarks became public, Kissinger had apologised and said the remarks were made in the context of the Cold War and said he respected Mrs Gandhi.