JN Dixit no more

New Delhi, Jan 3 | Updated: Jan 4 2005, 05:30am hrs
National security adviser Jyotindra Nath (Mani) Dixit, who was involved in pushing forward the peace process with Pakistan, died of heart attack on Monday. Mr Dixit (68) was a no-nonsense former diplomat with a reputation for being a hawk, who was appointed national security adviser last May when the UPA government came to power.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, senior Cabinet ministers and the three service chiefs were among those who visited his residence and paid their respects.

President APJ Abdul Kalam went to his residence and placed a wreath on his body.

According to foreign policy analysts, Mr Dixits demise could possibly slow the peace process with Pakistan.

Mr Dixit was considered the architect of Indias post-Cold War foreign policy. Analysts said his death would affect the dialogue process with China as he was officially named Indias interlocutor with that country on the border dispute. He was also handling back-channel diplomacy with Pakistan to ensure that the ongoing peace process does not derail.

Given his position in the hierarchy, and the fact that he was handling both the India-Pakistan and India-China talks, his death will certainly have an impact on the momentum of dialogue, pointed out Commodore C Uday Bhaskar, director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA). He had brought a certain personal rapport to the talks process. The person who replaces him will take time to get a grasp and to develop a personal rapport.

Said former Indian high commissioner to Pakistan G Parthasarthy, Not only he was at the right place at the right time, he was also the right man for the right job.

US ambassador Robert Mulford, expressing his grief at the death, said, Throughout his distinguished career, he played a central role in improving the US-India relationship, most notably as foreign secretary in the early 1990s and recently as national security advisor.

The former diplomat was Indias high commissioner to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh before retiring a decade ago as the foreign secretary.