Blasts too noisy for Modi to hear words of peace

  • India’s new external affairs minister briefs journalists on Modi’s desire for peaceful South Asia


India’s new Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif that if bomb blasts continue, peace talks between the two countries will be lost in the din.

A day after Modi was sworn in as India’s 15th prime minister, he met leaders of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries invited to his oath ceremony but it was the afternoon meeting with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Hyderabad House that was keenly watched.

“Talks and good relations can be successful and right only when terrorism is stopped. However, if bomb blasts continue then the talks will be lost in the din. This is what Narendra Modi told Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif,” said Swaraj, who took charge of her ministry yesterday.

The Indian external affairs minister told the journalists that India has asked Pakistan to ensure speedy trial in the 26/11 terror case being held in Pakistan. She also said that talks with the SAARC leaders were “successful” and that Modi wanted SAARC to reach greater heights in the international arena.

“The prime minister [Modi] told leaders that we should leave the contentious bilateral issues to the concerned parties and come together united,” the new minister said.

“I would like to say that for the first time the SAARC leaders felt that a government and a prime minister who thinks out of the box has assumed power in India,” she said.

Modi also raised issues of Tamil fishermen and 13th Amendment with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse, she said.

Swaraj also said that as the external affairs minister her priority would be to showcase India’s strengths to the world and improve relations with neighbouring countries, strategic partners, Africa, Asean member countries, Europe and others.

Swaraj, who was received by foreign secretary Sujatha Singh and other ministry officials, said that though she officially took charge Wednesday, she has been working since Tuesday, referring to the talks with the heads of different countries.

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