New Delhi: In an unusual move, External
Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Wednesday visited Leader of the
Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj to apprise her about the
steps being taken by the government over killing of fishermen
by Sri Lankan Navy and rehabilitation of Tamils there.
He drove to the residence of the senior BJP leader after
she tweeted about her request for a meeting with him to
discuss these issues.
BJP stated Krishna was "gracious enough" to visit Swaraj
to allay her serious concerns on five issues including the
plight of Indian students in the US, efforts being made to
bring back Indians from trouble-torn Egypt, and the fate of an
Indian being held hostage by Somali pirates.
Swaraj said Krishna informed her that Foreign Secretary
Nirupama Rao had visited the neighbouring country to take up
the issue of killing and torture of Indian fishermen and met
the Sri Lankan President, who "shares our concern".
"The Minister also told me that a Joint Working group
that has been constituted to sort out such issues will be made
more active to prevent recurrence of such incidents," she said
in a tweet.
The JWG of Foreign Secretaries of the two countries
already exists but the two countries have decided to
Swaraj also brought up the issue of "dignified
rehabilitation" of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Krishna assured her Rs
500 Crore had been alloted for this in the last budget.
"He told me that the Government was constantly monitoring
this aspect," she said.
Incidentally, both these issues pertain to Tamil Nadu
which goes to polls later this year. Swaraj is the party
in-charge of the state.
On the "inhuman treatment" meted out to Indian students
studying in a "sham" university in US on whom electronic
clamps were tied, Swaraj said Krishna assured her that the
Indian embassy officials there were dealing with the matter.
"The External Affairs Minister told me that US has been
informed in unequivocal terms that this is unacceptable to us.
That we do not treat anybody in this manner in India and do
not expect anybody to treat Indians living outside in this
manner," Swaraj said, adding the minister was very categorical
in his views.
Krishna also told Swaraj that all efforts were being made
to bring back Indians wanting to return from Egypt,
which is facing political unrest and anti-government protests.
"There are 3,200 Indian citizens in Egypt of which 650
have been brought back. Three planes are waiting in Egypt to
bring back those Indians choosing to come back," BJP
spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said about the information
shared by Krishna with Swaraj.
The senior BJP leader also raised the issue of three
Indians held captive by Somali pirates.
Swaraj indicated that she was satisfied with the efforts
made by the government.