The Telegraph
Thursday , May 29 , 2014
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Sharif talks went well, says Sushma

New Delhi, May 28: The “din of bombs going off buries the sounds of dialogue”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Pakistan counterpart during talks yesterday, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said here on taking office today.

Bomb dhamake bandh ho aur hum baat karein to aawaaz dono ko sunayi degi, lekin agar bomb dhamake chalte rahe to usme baatcheet ki aawaaz dab jaayegi. Aur ye baat inhi alfaz mein unhone Nawaz Sharif sahib se kahi. (If bomb explosions stop and we speak, we will be able to hear each other. But if the explosions continue, the sound of our dialogue will get buried. He (Modi) conveyed this in these words to Nawaz Sharif),” Swaraj said.

The minister said that although she had taken charge today, “I began work yesterday by being present to assist the Prime Minister in all his meetings with Saarc leaders and the Mauritius leader”.

“I think the talks were very successful… the Prime Minister did not stick to a script. He told all Saarc leaders that Saarc is often subsumed by bilateral issues and loses its prominence in the world. We would like it if bilateral issues are left for the countries involved to sort out amongst themselves, then Saarc can play a special role and gain prominence,” she said.

Swaraj said she got the impression that the Saarc leaders thought “India has now got a government that thinks out of the box and a Prime Minister who thinks out of the box and there will be new initiatives.”

The minister said: “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 stop.”

In talks with the Sri Lankan President, Modi had raised the issue of fishermen as well as the reconciliation process to meet the aspirations of island nation’s Tamil-speaking people.

India has been urging Lanka to implement the 13th Amendment, introduced to devolve power to provincial councils based on the provisions of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.

Asked if the new government will give more importance to countries like Japan as compared to the US, Swaraj said it was not proper to compare India’s relations with the two countries.

“We have strong trade relations with Japan. But America has its own significance,” she said, adding she would be speaking to US secretary of state John Kerry shortly.