Published On: Thu, Aug 3rd, 2017

Dialogue can start the day Pakistan stops promoting terror: Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said in Parliament on Thursday that India will start dialogue with Pakistan the day Islamabad stops promoting terrorism against this country.

Prime minister is enhancing the country’s image through his efforts across the world

She said this while replying to a discussion in the Rajya Sabha on foreign policy by reiterating the government’s stand that terror and talks cannot go together.

While rejecting the Opposition contention that the Modi government has no policy with regard to Pakistan, Swaraj asserted that her government had laid the “roadmap” envisioning peace and normalcy even before it took over.

“But it can’t be one-sided … Terror and talks cannot go together. The day they stop promoting terror, we will start the talks,” she said replying to a discussion on “India’s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners”.

“You are asking what is our Pakistan roadmap? We had declared it even before the swearing in. We had invited prime ministers of all the neighbouring countries and all came … Bilateral meetings were also held and I was present,” Swaraj said.

The external affairs minister recalled that the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif along with leaders of all other neighbouring countries had been invited to the swearing-in ceremony of the Modi government in May 2014.

“From then on the relations with Pakistan have been witnessing ups and downs,” said Swaraj.

She also slammed the Congress for questioning the Modi government’s foreign policy, telling the Opposition party that all the concerns that it was talking about now were born during the previous UPA rule.

“You are the ones who gave birth to the concerns raised now,” she said.

She praised former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, saying he had done good work at international level.

However, while Nehru enhanced his personal image, the present prime minister is enhancing the country’s image through his efforts across the world, she said.

Swaraj hit out at Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for meeting Chinese Ambassador Luo Zhaohui here last month, amid the Doklam border standoff instead of trying to understand the situation from the Indian government.

“I was very saddened that the opposition, instead of considering the point of view of the Indian government, went and met the Chinese Ambassador,” said Sushma Swaraj.

“They did not try to understand the situation (the border standoff) from the Indian government, instead approached the Chinese counterpart to get their point of view,” she added.

The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi had posted on its website about the July 8 meeting between Gandhi and Luo, but later withdrew it.

The embassy had said in its WeChat account: “On July 8, Ambassador Luo Zhaohui met with Rahul Gandhi, vice-president of the Congress party. The two sides exchanged views on the current China-India relations and other business. Counsellor Zhou Yuyun attended the meeting.”

Swaraj also took a dig at Congress MP Rajiv Shukla, who had said: “Why India did not take part in the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) meeting and also referred to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).”

“Why did the Congress allow him to say this. How did this crop up in his mind? It is a matter of India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty as POK is an integral part of India,” Swaraj said.

Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad stood up said that Shukla’s remarks were his individual views.


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