Trust is basis for any dialogue, says Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi, Dec 14 (IANS) Describing “trust” as the main basis for resumption of stalled talks, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Monday said India and Pakistan will discuss issues related to terrorism at the NSA level from now on.

“(The issue of) terrorism will now be discussed at NSA (National Security Advisor) level,” the minister told the Lok Sabha while addressing concerns and clarifying doubts of the members on the resumed dialogue between the two nations.

“Whenever dialogue happens, it happens only on good faith,” she said.

Earlier, the minister made a formal statement in the Lok Sabha on her two-day – December 8-9 – Pakistan visit.

Clarifying a point raised by Peoples Democratic Party member Mehbooba Mufti on why Jammu and Kashmir was discussed with Pakistan when India considers it as its integral part, Sushma Swaraj said that the two neighbours discussed terrorism in relation to the state and no political matter concerning it was talked about.

Addressing concerns raised by a number of MPs across party lines, Sushma Swaraj also said that holding talks in other countries does not mean that India and Pakistan have allowed third party intervention in their dialogue process.

“Third party intervention cannot be decided only by the fact that we are talking in some other country,” she said, adding that the leaders of the two countries would meet in different parts of the world and they would talk. But that does not mean that India and Pakistan were involving other countries in the process.

She also said that like Pakistan, she would also visit other neighbouring countries and try to strengthen bilateral relations with them.

On media describing her trip and resumption of talks between India and Pakistan as a “flip-flop”, she said: “Given the complexity of strategic talks, that is how you proceed.”

“It was not a flip-flop as it’s a matter of strategic importance,” she added.

The minister also clarified on why did she take so long in making statement on her Pakistan visit in the house.

“I reached Delhi on the night of (December) 9th and had the statement ready by 10th and came here to give notice on the next day but I was informed by the secretariat to make it on Monday,” she said, adding that she did not delay it intentionally.

Referring to questions being raised on her speaking in Urdu and wearing a green sari during the visit there, she said, “Urdu is a language of my country too” and asked what was the harm in addressing Pakistani media in Islamabad in Urdu.

Sushma Swaraj also said that she generally wears green on Wednesdays and as it happened to be Wednesday during her visit, she wore a sari of that colour.

She said she also met four generations of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s family during her visit.

“These things matter in foreign policy,” she added, and thanked the members for supporting the government on resumption of talks with Pakistan.

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