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SAARC invite first step in Modi's vision of friendly cooperation: Swaraj

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has a vision for friendly cooperation with each of the Saarc countries and the invitation to leaders of all member nations for the swearing-in was a first step towards realizing this vision, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj upon assuming charge of her ministry Wednesday.

Sushma Swaraj
External Affaris Minister Sushma Swaraj. File pic

Sushma Swaraj said the visiting leaders of the South Asian countries had expressed appreciation for Modi's gesture.

"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 said.

Addressing newspersons, Sushma Swaraj said her main priority is to project the strengths of India abroad and to improve India's international relations.

She said the government has made a beginning in improving ties with the neighbourhood. The government would next improve ties with strategic partners, and after that with India's extended neighbourhood.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif that if bomb blasts continue, then peace talks between the two countries will be lost in the din, Sushma Swaraj said.

"Talks and good relations can be successful and right only when terrorism is stopped. But if bomb blasts continue, then the talks will be lost in the din. This is what Narendra Modi told Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif," she said.

"We also raised the topic of speedy trial of the 26/11 terror attack accused and even they said they will work on it," she said.

Terming the talks with Saarc leaders as "successful", she said: "The prime minister told leaders that we should leave the contentious bilateral issues to the concerned parties and come together unitedly."

Sushma Swaraj, who was received by Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh and other ministry officials, said that though she officially took charge Wednesday, she has been working since Tuesday, referring to the talks with the heads of different countries.

She said Prime Minister Modi had raised the issue of detention of Indian fishermen with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

"We also raised the issue of 13th Amendment. We didn't raise the issue specifically of Kachchatheevu. We raised the issue of 13th amendment with President of Sri Lanka, we raised the issue of fishermen from Tamil Nadu. 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."

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