If Imran Khan is so generous, he should give us Masood Azhar: Sushma Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi, March 14: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that India cannot have a dialogue with Pakistan unless the latter take action against terror groups on its soil. Speaking at a conference in Delhi on Wednesday the union minister hit out at Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and said, “Some people say Imran Khan is a statesman, if he is so generous then he should hand over JeM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) chief Masood Azhar to India. Let’s see how generous he is.”

“If Imran Khan (Pakistan prime minister) is so generous and a statesman, he should give us Masood Azhar,” she said.

Talking on ‘India’s World: Modi Government’s Foreign Policy’, she stated that Pakistan needs to control the ISI and its army who are bent on destroying the bilateral relations time and again.

On the possibility of a dialogue with Pakistan, Sushma Swaraj said that India cannot do so unless the neighbouring country acted against terror outfits on its soil, asserting that “talks and terror cannot go together”.

“We do not want talk on terror, we want action on it. Terror and talks cannot go together,” she said.

The external affairs minister said that India can have a good relationship with Pakistan, provided the neighbouring country “takes action against terror groups on its soil”.

On her invitation to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting, she said India avenged the humiliation meted out to it 50 years ago by becoming the ‘guest of honour’ at the OIC meet this year.

“In 1969, India was humiliated when it was not allowed to participate in the meeting even after reaching the venue after Pakistan protested against India’s then foreign minister’s participation. But now, 50 years later, it was India that was the honoured guest, while Pakistan’s seat was empty,” she said.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had expressed reservations about the invitation to Swaraj for the OIC meeting and later decided to boycott the meeting of the 57-member Muslim grouping held earlier this month.

Talking about the foreign policy of the current government, Swaraj said it was based upon the two principles of “national interest supreme” and “world is our family”.

“People often ask us what we get by our frequent travel to countries. I want to tell them we do not travel to have fun, we travel to build our relationship with other countries and it is because of our ties with these countries that we were able to rescue 7,000 people from Yemen. The strength of our bilateral ties was also reflected in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) elections,” she said.

“I have seen the strength of this relationship time and again,” the senior BJP leader said, adding that at the ministerial level, Indian leaders have visited 189 out of 193 countries. (Agencies)