Visits to New Delhi by leaders of Saudi Arabia, Iran in quick succession would seem to suggest something new is happening in West Asia to which Indian attention is required. Some historic changes have already placed the region on a path of hope: the election of President Hassan Rouhani, his historic telephonic “hullo” with President Barack Obama, positive movement of the Geneva process on Iran’s nuclear programme, etcetera.

And, just look at the coincidental configuration of the stars! In 1986, just when Chernobyl erupted, Col. Muammar Qaddafi was finding his way through bombs and falling rubble in his Tripoli palace, trying to help his wife strapped to a bed because of a slipped disc.

On July 2, 1999 Sharif called President Clinton and requested him to intervene. The President also consulted with then Indian Prime Minister A B Vajpayee who clearly stated that India will not negotiate “under the threat of aggression” and that withdrawal of Pakistani forces was essential.

Sharif again called President Clinton on July 3 and told him that he was ready to come to Washington. The President warned him that without agreeing to withdraw Pakistani forces behind the LoC, the visit will not yield any results. Sharif told him that he was coming to the US on July 4.