In an exclusive telephonic interview to this correspondent from Moscow, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that Alaska was but a small price to pay for keeping India away from power at the UN.
"We just have snow and ice and Eskimos in Alaska. And a bit of oil too - but
then that cost we'll extract from India using other means. Anyways, it's a
really worth it to keep India away from the reins of power at the UN. Believe
me! It's worth it,"
Rice was in Moscow to conduct talks with Russian leaders and gloat over America's supremacy over the Kremlin.
Reactions from the ruling UPA government in New Delhi were on expected lines, even though a decision as to India's acceptance of the plan had not been taken till the time of filing this story. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hailed the announcement as a new era in Indo-US ties -
"It's like we are now married. India is the husband and the US the wife and
Alaska is the dowry. What a wonderful life. God bless us both."
RSS supremo Sudershan, however, alleged that the gift was a double-edged one and part of a carefully thought-out strategy by the US.
"There will be millions of missionaries in Alaska, and they will all become
Indian citizens. This way the population of Christians here will increase and
they will start calling the shots in India."
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Renuka Choudhary was excited about the news, and has already unveiled a plethora of plans to be put into action in Alaska.
"I can't give you much details yet. But we'll certainly be having a night bazaar
and cultural festival in Alaska."
External Affairs spokesperson Navtej Sarna said that a befitting reply to the US offer will be drafted and sent to the US in the coming days, but hinted that in all probability the reply would be a "positive one". (T2N2)