External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said war is not the answer to solve problems between countries, ANI reported. Swaraj was replying to the Opposition’s queries on India’s foreign policy and relations with China, Pakistan and Nepal during a Rajya Sabha session.
“War is not the way to solve problems between countries,” she said. “You need peace talks to restore balance even after a war.” Swaraj said Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is an integral part of India. “Entire Kashmir is ours,” she added.
Talking about foreign relations with Pakistan, she said, “We had created roadmap of peace and friendship. But things can’t work just one way. Terrorism and peace talks cannot go hand-in-hand.”
On India-China relations
On the ongoing standoff with China, Swaraj said India will not negotiate on the border issue at Doklam. “We are talking about bilateral relations with China. That is the only way to find a solution,” she added.
She said there had been no discussions on the tri-junction point in Bhutan since 2012. “Chinese action in Doklam area is therefore of concern.”
New Delhi will continue to find a mutually acceptable solution with Beijing through the diplomatic channels, she added. “We will also continue to maintain close consultation and coordination with the Royal Government of Bhutan,” she added.
China’s Deputy Chief of Mission Liu Jinsong on Thursday asked India to withdraw its troops from Doklam plateau or be ready to “face serious consequences”, reported The Hindu. “The crossing of the boundary line by Indian troops into the territory of China using the pretext of security concerns for a 3rd party (Bhutan) is illegal,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
On bilateral relations with Israel, Nepal
Swaraj said in the last 17 years no Indian prime minister had stepped foot in Nepal. “Out of those 17 years, the Congress government was in power for 11 years.”
Commenting on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Israel, Swaraj said, “Israel is our friend but we will always support Palentine’s cause. That is our promise.”
The Union minister also claimed that the success of the Modi government’s foreign police can be measured by the fact that both the United States and Russia had extended support to India.
Anand Sharma targets Modi’s foreign visits
Earlier, Swaraj had promised to respond to every question put to her regarding the country’s foreign policy, NDTV reported. Swaraj also clarified that she, and not the prime minister, would respond to the queries.
Her statement came after Congress MP Anand Sharma asked whether there was a window within which the Doklam border dispute can be resolved. He targeted Modi and complained that despite visiting 65 countries in the last three years, Modi has never addressed the Parliament on his foreign visits.
The Congress, however, said they will always support the government in matters of national interest.
The Sikkim standoff
India and China are currently locked in a diplomatic standoff. Both nations havemaintained that troops from the other country had transgressed into their territory in the Sikkim sector’s Doklam area.
Bilateral ties have been strained since the Indian Army stopped China from constructing a road in the region. New Delhi has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road up to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction through the Doklam plateau.