Former external affairs minister Salman Khurshid on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should ensure that the commitments made during his foreign tours are followed up and fulfilled. The senior Congress leader also said that India needs to open up to China and work out on the compulsions that both the countries are facing.
“(Former Prime Minister) Manmohan Singh may not have travelled with the same strength as Modi has travelled, but this makes a good impression and gives a sense of a lot of energy. But, at the end of the day we must not leave an impression that the Prime Minister speaks, but nothing happens. The critical thing is that there needs to be a follow up,” Khurshid said.
He was speaking at the 6th Tata Literature Live in Mumbai on a debate “If India’s project ‘Mausam’ can counter China’s ‘String of Pearls’”. Project ‘Mausam’ is ministry of culture’s project that aims to re-connect and re-establish its communications with countries of the Indian Ocean world, which would lead to an enhanced understanding of cultural values and concerns. ‘String of Pearls’ is a phrase used to describe China’s maritime ambitions in the Indian Ocean and beyond.
Talking about China, Khurshid said, “If you are not willing to open up and truthfully say these are our compulsions, let us work out on the compulsions (with China). We have done that at the border, we have done it on the Line of Actual Control, then we have found working relations and found that somethings cant be done in a hurry. So, lets work steadily towards our relations in the future.” “But, are we being honest enough between China and ourselves? Beyond the cultural messages and walking together and sitting on the swing together, I think some serious issues need to be solved,” he said referring to the meeting between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Ahmedabad last year.
“The only thing we have succeeded in ensuring in the last 20 years with China is that there has been no casualty at the LOC. There are intrusions, there are irritations, but there are no casualties. That is the only thing we have achieved,” he added.
The former Union minister said that the present leadership of China is a lot more vocal, and thus, if India makes an effort, conversations can go further. “India is doing very well with responses from other countries. We get a good response from other countries like US, Germany, UK, France on a host of issues but not from China. Nobody is asking China to put off its relations with Pakistan, but not at our cost. We can’t play the ostrich about their relations with Pakistan. It is very critical,” he said.