Sushma Swaraj’s Statement on Pak Visit

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New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj spoke through continuous opposition protests on Monday morning, barely heard above the din as she made a statement in the Rajya Sabha on her visit last week to Pakistan.

Ms Swaraj told the Upper House that India and Pakistan would engage in a “comprehensive” dialogue on all issues including peace, security and Jammu and Kashmir and added that “continued estrangement of the two countries was a hurdle to realisation of peace and prosperity in the region.”

She also said “India hopes new dialogue with Pakistan will mark a new beginning for peace and development in the region.” The Rajya Sabha was adjourned repeatedly amid the noisy slogan shouting by the opposition who were protesting against an incident in Punjab’s Fazilka district.

“The underlined sentiment was that continued estrangement of two neighbours was a hurdle to realisation of a shade vision for peaceful and prosperous region. There was also a sharp awareness that principal obstacles to the growth of ties especially terrorism would have to be directly addressed,” she said.

Recalling the meeting between Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif in Paris, she said that both the Prime Ministers discussed the need for NSA level talks between the two countries. “During Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif’s meeting in Paris, it was discussed that both countries should begin NSA talks focused on peace and terrorism, tranquility along the line of Jammu and Kashmir – the state which has been most impacted by terrorism and LoC violation,” she said.

The Rajya Sabha has barely functioned in the last few days with the opposition Congress protesting and forcing multiple adjournments alleging “political vendetta” after its two top leaders, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were summoned by court in the National Herald case.

They have also disrupted the Lok Sabha. A section of Congress leaders are reportedly not in favour of continuously disrupting legislative work and there has been some talk of the opposition party scaling down its protests.

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