‘Voice of Talks Gets Lost in the Din of Bomb Blasts’
Sushma Swaraj sent out a clear message to Pakistan on her first day in office as external affairs minister, saying that while India sought good relations the neighbouring country should clamp down against terrorism since the “voice of talks gets lost in the din of bomb blasts”. The first woman to take charge as India’s external affairs minister, Swaraj on Wednesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had conveyedtohiscounterpartNawazSharif in their meeting on the previous day that the talks between the two countries would not be effective if bomb blasts continued. “We told Pakistan that we want good relations with it. But for good relations, the talks can be effective and successful only if terror activities (directed against India) stop. The voice of talks gets lost in the sound of bomb blasts. That is why bomb blasts should stop so that we can talk and our voices can be heard. Talks will get subdued under the din of bomb blasts. He (Modi) conveyed it to Sharif in these many words,” Swaraj told the media. India had asked Pakistan to ensure speedy trial in the November 2008 (26/11) Mumbai attack case being held in Pakistan, she said, adding that the Pakistani side had said that they were working on it.
In Islamabad, Pakistan’s national security and foreign affairs advisor Sartaj Aziz said that the meeting between Sharif and Modi in New Delhi wasnotjustaphotoopanditsoutcome proved better than anyone’s expecta-
tions. Aziz also said that the Kashmir issue was also raised by Sharif and the twoleadersdiscussedanti-terrorcooperation. However, unlike many other Pakistani leaders in the past, Sharif did not meet Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat’s representatives during his stay in Delhi and he did not mention Kashmir in his pre-departure statement.
BriefingthemediaonModi’smeeting with the SAARC leaders, who had cometoattendhisswearing-inceremony, Swaraj said the talks had been successful. “He told the leaders that SAARC could not make an identity in the world because of bilateral issues. He said if bilateral contentious issues are left between the respective countries, then SAARC can emerge as a strongpower,”shesaid.“Iwouldliketo 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, pointing to the initiative that has beendescribedaspath-breakingbythe visiting leaders.
Modi had in his talks with Sri L a n k a n P r e s i d e n t Ma h i n d a Rajapaksa raised the issue of fishermen as well as the reconciliation process to meet the aspirations of Tamil community in the country. “We have also raised the issue of 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution,” she said. India has been pressing for implementation of the 13th amendment, which was introduced to ensure certain powers to provincial councils based on the provisions of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.