Resigned to make way for younger blood: Krishna



New Delhi: SM Krishna on Saturday said he has resigned from his post as External Affairs Minister to make way for "younger blood", and added that he had brought in transparency in the functioning of the ministry during his tenure.

Krishna told reporters that he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and thanked him for the support provided by the leadership for the External Affairs Ministry.

"The whole idea behind the resignation is that the flavour of the season is that youngsters should take more responsibility. It's time for me to make way for younger blood to take over," he told reporters at his residence a day after he stepped down.

Asked whether it was the Prime Minister or he himself who decided to step down as Union Minister, Krishna said, "The decision came from within. And my wife had a major role to play in the decision making."

"This is no way denigrates the importance of experience. Experience is an important attribute, particularly in pursing foreign relations with other countries," said the 80-year-old Krishna.

To a suggestion that his stint in the MEA was short, the former Karnataka chief minister said his tenure was for a "respectable" period.

Krishna said he had also met Congress president Sonia Gandhi who appreciated his work as the External Affairs Minister. "She wanted me to continue in whatever I am going to do as Member of Parliament," he said.

On his tenure in the Ministry, he said there has been an all-round improvement in India's relations both with its immediate neighbours and the immediate neighbourhood.

"Nobody can claim that all the issues have been resolved with our neighbours. But statesmanship lies in the fact that how well you manage those issues which seem to be confronting you all the time...Whether it is in reference to China or Pakistan, I think the last three years has seen quite a bit of improvement in our relationship," Krishna said.

He said New Delhi had issues with China on border front but it did not affect the overall relationship that India has pursued to have with Beijing.

"It is the same case with Pakistan. I think under the direction of the Prime Minister, we took up the initiative and I made two trips to Islamabad and my counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar came to Delhi. That certainly did help improve the relationship between our two countries," he said.

He said Pakistan and China are two classic cases where Indian interests have always with theirs.

"But we have been able to manage with both the countries and today I can say with a sense of conviction that we have a manageable relationship with both the countries," he said.

He said there are "so many" regrets on what he was unable to do as External Affairs Minister. "Foreign affairs is not two plus two...Such easy deductions are not possible but one should keep working towards that."

He said transparency is one issue on which he was a stickler to the irritation of his colleagues. "It is the only effective answer to those who criticise government”.

"We brought in transparency in the functioning of the ministry," he said, adding "we have been able to bring in a number of reforms, including the Haj reforms".

"Transparency is an unstoppable trend," he underlined, while wishing his successor good luck.

Krishna stepped down in the wake of a cabinet rejig scheduled for Sunday morning. He is likely to play a major role in Karnataka affairs, with the state set for polls next year.

IANS/PTI