Outlining the regional diplomatic vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the new External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday said he has a vision for friendly cooperation with each of the SAARC countries.
She said that Modi’s invitation to the leaders of the eight-member bloc ceremony is indicative of the government’s intent and commitment to build cordial, friendly and inclusive ties with the countries of South Asia.
“The Prime Minister has a vision for friendly cooperation with each of the SAARC countries. This invitation was the first step towards realising this vision. “A promising beginning has been made at the start of the new government in our engagement with each of these countries,” she said.
Swaraj, who is the first full-time woman External Affairs Minister of the country, pointed out that on the first day at work, Modi and she engaged with leaders of India’s South Asian neighbours.
The meetings were substantive and cordial, she said in her first media statement after formally assuming charge at the External Affairs Ministry this morning. “The visiting leaders expressed appreciation for the Prime Minister’s gesture,” she said.
The 62-year-old BJP leader said there are a number of challenges that all countries are collectively confronting and “I look forward to working with our strategic partners across the globe in tackling these international issues that plague all of us collectively”. She stressed that it was a privilege and honour to assume responsibility as the External Affairs Minister following the “historic” swearing-in ceremony on May 26.
“I have had interactions with the officials of the Ministry and am looking forward to more detailed briefings on all aspects of our foreign policy in the next few days,” she said. Swaraj added that India’s foreign policy has civilisational roots and heritage, and is based on the principled pursuit of our national interests.