No full stops in diplomacy, says Sushma on Modi-Sharif meet
NEW DELHI: India on Monday held out the possibility of
talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif
in New York this month, with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj saying
there are no full stops in diplomacy and the government would respond as the
In her first press conference since taking charge of
the ministry in May, Sushma Swaraj said the government will decide on possible
talks between Modi and Sharif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly as
the situation pans out.
“There are no full stops in diplomacy,” she said. “We
will respond as the situation develops. We are not going with a predetermined
mind set,” she said in response to another query on the possibility of
The possibility of the New York talks looked bleak
after India called off the Aug 25 Foreign Secretary-level talks in Islamabad
over Pakistan high commissioner in India Abdul Basit hobnobbing with Kashmiri
separatist leaders. The Foreign Secretary-level talks were scheduled to be the
precursor to the bilateral meeting between Modi and Sharif.
Sushma Swaraj said that Modi, in his talks with Sharif
in New Delhi after the swearing-in ceremony, had taken several initiatives to
push forward the ties, including proposing trade on the Wagah-Attari border and
the Foreign Secretary-level talks.
“Who derailed this initiative? It was Pakistan,” she
said. Asked if there was a flaw in India’s Pakistan policy in the wake of the
sari-shawl diplomacy of good ties between the two leaders which culminated in
the talks being called off, Swaraj denied it.
“There is no flaw in our Pakistan policy. We had good
talks during the May meeting between Modi and Sharif. But they have not been
able to start the trade on the Wagah-Attari border.”
“On the Foreign Secretary talks, our Foreign Secretary
spoke to theirs and it was decided to hold it in Islamabad, and on Aug 25. But
before that what was the need (for the Pakistan envoy) to invite the
separatists?" Swaraj said.
“What was the need, what did they achieve? We have
said clearly that if you speak with them, we will call off talks, and so we
called off the talks... Where is the flaw in insisting that they not interfere
in our internal affairs?” Swaraj posed.
Answering a query on ceasefire violations on the Line
of Control, Swaraj said the directors general of military operations on the two
sides would talk to each other when needed.
Asked if the Modi government would speak with the
Pakistan military, especially with the political upheaval going on in that
country, the minister said India would only speak to the elected government in
Pakistan and not the army.