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Sushma Swaraj indicates stand on Pak, Doklam, and takes a dig at Rahul Gandhi

Picture Courtesy: Hindustan Times
Picture Courtesy: Hindustan Times

Pointing out the the government’s foreign policy initiatives aggressively in the Rajya Sabha , External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj  said on Thursday that the standoff with China can only be resolved through diplomacy and a war would not help solve problems.

According to various media reports, Speaking after Opposition cast doubts over the government’s foreign policy, Swaraj said that “patience is key to resolving problems,” because if patience is lost, there can be provocation from the other side. “We will keep patience to resolve the issue,” she said.

She was replying to a discussion on “India’s foreign policy and engagement with strategic partners” during which members voiced concern over the stand-off and raised questions over India’s policy. In response to questions, she said military readiness is always there as the military is meant to fight wars. “But war cannot resolve problems. So wisdom is to resolve diplomatically,” the external affairs minister asserted.

Raking up Rahul Gandhi’s meeting with the Chinese envoy even as the armies faced off in the Bhutan tri-junction, she said, “He should have consulted with the Prime Minister first. The opposition should have taken the government’s view before meeting the Chinese.”

Reiterating the importance of good relations with China, she said that China’s actions in the region are a big concern. “The Chinese are selectively quoting Jawaharlal Nehru’s letter. Peace and tranquility with China is important. Doklam can be resolved through bilateral talks,” she said.

“We are talking with China on everything, not just Doklam. China has big investments in India. Also, you have to understand that both Russia and the United States are with us,” she added. She also slammed the opposition parties, saying that statements made by some MPs contradict facts.

A combative Swaraj also shut down the Congress’ contention that India’s relations with other neighbours too had deteriorated under the Narendra Modi government, and said the country’s standing had grown in the eyes of the world’s powers under PM Modi.

She said India’s roadmap with all its neighbours is one of peace and tranquility, but asserted talks and terror can’t go hand-in-hand, in a reference to Pakistan. “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.

“You are asking what our Pakistan roadmap is. 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.

She 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. Since then, the relations with Pakistan have been witnessing ups and downs, she said.

“The story changed after (the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander) Burhan Wani (in an encounter) when they (Pakistan) declared him as a martyr,” Swaraj said.

She said that the concerns raised by the Congress now were born during the previous UPA rule. “You are the ones who gave birth to the concerns raised now,” she said, while praising the Modi government’s outreach to its neighbours and friends.

“We helped countries like Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal when they were in need. We were the first to help Nepal during the earthquake. Nations which seek our help, are our friends,” she said.

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