External affairs minister Salman Khurshid tells HT the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi does not have a vision about foreign policy. He also talks about the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.
On Modi's talks on Pakistan and bringing Dawood Ibrahim back to India:
Modi can say anything but what will he actually do with Pakistan? Will he go and attack Pakistan — a nuclear weapon state? You think the world will allow you to do it? What he says of Pakistan is rubbish.
We have the best policy in the world because of which the world acknowledges us as a responsible power. We have not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) or signed any discriminatory treaty. But the world has virtually made an exception for us. Modi's talks do not gel well with India's high standing.
On high Inflation and anti-incumbency against the UPA:
Inflation is not high to the level of intolerance anywhere. Also, do not forget this is an inflation backed with 100 days of work. It is also backed with enormous social security, Rs 30,000 worth of health insurance for poor, housing for poor and backed with free education, free mid-day meal and now hugely subsidised food security. Let's look at both sides of the balance sheet and not just one side.
Prices depend heavily on fuel. 80% of our fuel is imported. It is easy for Modi to say that he will bring the prices down. Will he get fuel free? Will he march into Kuwait, Saudi Arabia or Iran and say, these are my oil fields? Will he, by using his typical language, make friends with them or put them off?
I think he has no vision at all. Just as he has never used the word apology, he has never used the word vision too.
The Congress campaign has shifted from UPA's achievements to attacking Modi. What are your views?
We are still sticking to our main strategy. We have done outstanding work for schemes such as food security or right to education. But laws need tremendous support from the states. Also, you cannot fulfill food security in 15 days.
The BJP has resolutely refused to engage on any of these issues. They have not said our education, food security or employment models are inadequate. They have not spelled out an alternative. They talk about scams but could not get anywhere. How much can you whip a dead horse?
But scams were a reality in UPA. What would you say about that?
I will believe scams would be a reality only when there are convictions. There is not a single conviction so far. I am talking about everything from 2G to coal block allocation. Please tell me, if five judges of the Supreme Court say that auction is not the only way then how do I say that lack of auction was a scam?
Modi promises effective governance. Your views?
How can he lead an effective government when he can't get along with several chief ministers who are popular? You need a consensus builder at a time when there is a divided opinion in the country.