PM Sought My Opinion Before Visiting Lahore, Says Sushma Swaraj

03/03/2016 9:12 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - FEBRUARY 11: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (R) talks to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as they wait to receive Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (unseen), Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and UAE's Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during a ceremonial reception at the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Presidential Palace on February 11, 2016 in New Delhi, India. In a departure from protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the airport as he arrived in New Delhi for a three-day state visit. Hours after his arrival, Al Nahyan expressed his keenness to strengthen strategic relationship between the two countries. At present, India is UAE’s number one trading partner with total trade pegged at $60 billion in 2015. UAE was the sixth largest source of crude oil import for India in 2014-'15. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday rejected Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's remarks that even the Foreign Minister was unaware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sudden de-tour to Lahore.

In an exclusive to ANI, Swaraj said "I would like to correct the record. After a conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Modi called me, seeking my opinion on his visit to Lahore."

"I told him that it would be an 'out of the box initiative' and he should go to Lahore, said Swaraj adding, "This was a novel initiative, which got appreciated in the country."

Swaraj said that since she was not present in the lower house yesterday, she could not respond to Gandhi's statements."

"If I would have been present there, I would have responded to his statement. I reached home and saw his speech, which is not correct," she added.

The Minister pointed out that after receiving the Prime Minister here; she had a conversation with him for about 10 minutes at the airport where she apprised him of the positive response that the nation has given to his visit.

Taking the floor in the Lok Sabha during the debate on the motion of thanks to President's address, Congress vice president Gandhi, accused Prime Minister Modi of 'single handedly destroying' six years of UPA work to put Pakistan into a small cage after 26/11 terror strikes, by visiting Pakistan.

He assailed the Prime Minister with "releasing" Pakistan from a "cage" for which the UPA had invested thousands of hours of hard work and all-round consultations.

"The work done by the UPA has made us all proud. We conducted Panchayat elections, created self-help groups, which generated employment. We had broken the back of insurgency in Kashmir completely. And what did the Prime Minister do? He decided to have a cup of tea with Nawaz Sharif without any vision. He decided to take a detour to Pakistan. He did not bother to consult anyone...the people in intelligence, the diplomats. Perhaps he did not even talk to (External Affairs Minister) Sushmaji (Swaraj). Only his opinion matters. He single handedly destroyed the six years of work done by the UPA," Gandhi said.

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