From India’s NSG bid to ties with Pak: 5 things Swaraj said on foreign policy

  • Agencies
  • Updated: Jun 19, 2016 21:29 IST
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told reporters that China was not opposing India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, but that it has raised objections relating to criteria and processes. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday India was confident of winning China’s support for US-backed efforts for its membership in a group of 48 nations controlling access to sensitive nuclear technology.

Swaraj told reporters that China was not opposing India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, but that it has raised objections relating to criteria and processes.

Here are five things Swaraj said at an annual news conference of her ministry:

1) Swaraj said India will not oppose the entry of Pakistan or any other country into the NSG but asserted that the decision on all applications should be decided on merits.

“Hum China ko bhi mananey mein kamyabi hasil kar lenge (We will succeed in convincing China too),” she told the media here.

Answering questions, she said China “is not opposed to India’s entry” into the 48-nation NSG but it was “only talking about the criteria procedures” to New Delhi’s entry to the nuclear grouping.

The NSG is focussed on restricting nuclear proliferation by controlling which countries can gain access to technology used in making atomic weapons.

2) Fielding questions on India-Pakistan relations , Swaraj said while bilateral ties are “jatil” (complicated), New Delhi was firm that talks and terrorism cannot go together.

She said there was “sehejta” (simplicity) in the chemistry involving Prime Ministers Narendra Modi of India and Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan.

“This warmth and simplicity in relations between two Prime Ministers were never there in the past,” she said. “To resolve problems, you also need good relationship.”

Swaraj said unlike in the past, there had been a significant change in Pakistan’s policy towards terror strikes in India.

“Earlier whenever there used to be any terrorist activity, Pakistan used to go in denial mood. But after Pathankot attack, Nawaz Sharif himself called our Prime Minister and he said you give me proof, I will definitely take appropriate action.”

3) The minister defended the Narendra Modi-led government’s global outreach-driven foreign policy and said there are many benefits of such endeavours.

“Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) does not come sitting at home,” Sushma Swaraj said, in an apparent dig at critics who have often Prime Minister Modi’s frequent overseas travels.

“Aaj jab Bharat bolta hai, duniya sunti hai (Today when India speaks, the world listens),” she told the media here.

The minister said since the Modi government took charge in May 2014, there had been a substantial FDI inflow. “As much as $55 billion or Rs 369,000 crore has come through the FDI route in the last two years. It is about a 43 per cent jump over what it was during the UPA rule.”

4) Swaraj said India’s growing engagement with the US will not impact its relations with countries like Russia and China nor this will dilute New Delhi’s commitment to forums like the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

“It is true we have enhanced engagement with the US now. But that does not impact our relations with Russia or China. Nor the growing Indo-US relations will put at stake our national interest.”

5) Swaraj asserted the Indian High Commissioner to Britain, Navtej Sarna, was not at fault for the presence of business tycoon Vijay Mallya at a book release function in London.

“Unka koi dosh nahi hai (there was no fault of the High Commissioner),” she told reporters sticking to the ministry’s line that Mallya was not originally in the invitee list of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

“The moment the High Commissioner saw Mallya, he staged a walkout. So, I don’t understand what is the controversy about?” Sushma Swaraj said.

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