Sushma Swaraj praises PM`s trip to Bangladesh

PM Manmohan Singh was on Wednesday praised by senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj for his Bangladesh trip, which she said was "very, very good".

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2011, 18:40 PM IST

Singapore: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,
who has off late been under attack by opposition parties, was
on Wednesday praised by senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj for his
Bangladesh trip, which she said was "very, very good".

She also stressed that Indian foreign policy was good for
regional cooperation, and was drafted by the central
government in the interest of India, no matter which party was
in power.

She however said relations with China needs "careful
handling".
Talking about the Bangladesh trip, she said it would have
been better had West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee
accompanied Singh to Bangladesh.

Responding to questions, Sushma, who is here on an
official trip said, "Relations between the two countries
(India and Bangladesh) have strengthened. As for Teesta River
water sharing, it would have been better if the Prime Minister
would have taken the Chief Minister of West Bengal along."

She added, "There was some communication gap that is why
she (Banerjee) did not join the delegation.

"Since she was not in the delegation, the Prime Minister
thought it would be safe to just keep it aside for a later
period. (But) That is not the end, beginning has been very,
very good."

Touching on India`s foreign policy and its relations with
neighbours, Swaraj called for "careful handling" of
relationships with China.

Asked to elaborate further on careful handling, Swaraj,
who was speaking to journalists after delivering a public
lecture `Building Bridges for Peace and Regional Cooperation ?
India`s role with its East Asian Neighbours` said, "I have
used the word careful handling. Careful handling says
everything."
Responding to questions on the recent media reports of an
alleged incident between the Indian and Chinese naval ships in
the South China Sea, she said the Chinese have contradicted
it.

Swaraj, however, quickly pointed out that there were
complexities in relations between the two countries and the
relations should be handled carefully.

In her lecture, Swaraj highlighted India`s need to further
act on its `Look East Policy`.

"Ultimately, if we want to address, manage, or solve some
of the most pressing issues of the 21st century, China and the
US will have to coordinate our efforts," she said.

"India`s leadership will help to shape positively the
future of the Asia Pacific.

"That`s why the US supports India`s Look East policy, and
we encourage India not just to Look East, but to Engage East
and Act East as well," Sushma told academics and students at
the Institute of South Asian Studies, which organised the
lecture.

Swaraj is in Singapore on her first official visit as
Leader of Opposition and would call on Prime Minister Lee
Hsien Loong and meet Foreign Minister K Shanmugam on Friday.

Tomorrow, she would be meeting Indian business and
community leaders.

PTI