Responding to criticisms by the opposition against the government’s foreign relations, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj delivered a fiery reply to silence all critics.
The opposition leaders had raised the issue by stating that India did not have favourable relations with its neighbors such as Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives as well as other nations such as Pakistan, China, the US, and Russia.
In response, Swaraj gave examples of India extending unconditional assistance to its neighbours. India had come to Maldives’ assistance during their water crisis, assisted Sri Lanka when it was suffering due to floods and came to the aid of Nepal when it was struck by the devastating earthquake. On Bhutan, Swaraj stated that Bhutan considers India as its dearest friend.
On Pakistan, Sushma Swaraj stated in clear terms that the Modi government had established a comprehensive road map for peace with Pakistan and had embarked in accordance with the road map, holding comprehensive bilateral dialogue with Pakistan. However, she also made it clear that the government would hold talks with Pakistan, reiterating the government’s stand that “terror and talks cannot go together.”
Speaking on relations with China, Swaraj hit out against the opposition for holding talks with Chinese officials before confirming India’s stand on the issue. She stated that the proper course of action would have been to confirm India’s stand on the issue, based on which the opposition leaders should have confronted the Chinese.
She further iterated that war is not the solution to any issue and further added that dialogue would remain the preferred method to resolve the border standoff. Swaraj supported her statement by stating that in today’s world, it is not military power that dictates a country’s standing on the global stage but it is the economic power that has become the new determinant. In this regard, India has been exercising its significant economic growth and development to support growth and development of its neighbours.
Sushma Swaraj reiterated that India’s standing in the world had improved significantly. India’s foreign relations were at such a level that today, it can maintain relations with nations who are rivals of each other without suring India’s relations with either nation. Swaraj highlighted the close partnership India has with Russia and the US, even as both nations are engaged in diplomatic rivalry with each other.
Through her response, Sushma Swaraj has proved that India not only has extremely good relations with other nations but also that India as friends around the world.