NEW DELHI: Giving a strong rebuttal to Pakistan’s proposal for a foreign secretary-level dialogue on Jammu & Kashmir, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday said “addressing terrorism challenge is central to engagement” with Islamabad.
“Unlike in the past, we cannot agree that dialogue with sponsors and supporters of terrorism should carry on without being linked to action in that regard,” Swaraj said releasing a book on the Modi Doctrine.
She said India is putting a lot of diplomatic energy on an early conclusion of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. “Equally important, we have made counter-terrorism cooperation a key element in many of our bilateral interactions.”
Delivery is a key aspect of the Modi Doctrine, she said. “Long pending projects abroad, especially in the neighbourhood, are moving forward. The completion of Parliament building and Salma Dam in Afghanistan, Duriappah Stadium in Sri Lanka, Petrapole integrated check-point with Bangladesh or Trauma Centre in Nepal are some notable milestones,” she said.
The Indian diaspora occupies a central place in the foreign policy of this government. “These Indians abroad are a huge asset for the country, whether in the economy, image-building or influence. The Modi Government has broken new ground in appreciating their contribution and protecting their interests,” Swaraj said.
High-level engagement with international interlocutors is a hallmark of this government, she said. “In the last two years, in addition to the very vigorous efforts of the prime minister personally, my cabinet colleagues and I have been to more than 140 countries.The impact this has had on the world’s perception of India cannot be overstated,” the minister said.
(This Report was published in The Times of India on 14th August 2016)