NEW DELHI -- External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made a statement in the Rajya Sabha today on her recent visit to Islamabad and on developments related to bilateral relations between India and Pakistan amidst loud protests from the opposition benches.
In her statement, which was largely inaudible because of the opposition repeatedly calling for a stop to the proceedings in the house, Swaraj detailed the circumstances under which her visit was organised and what took place in Islamabad with the Pakistani leadership. She said that it has always been the Indian Government's endeavour to maintain relations with neighbouring countries, including Pakistan.
She further said that she hoped that the decision to have a bilateral composite dialogue with Pakistan would yield the results expected by the leaderships and people of both countries.
Earlier, she said in a tweet, "I will make a statement on my recent visit to Islamabad tomorrow at 11 am in Rajya Sabha and at 2 pm in Lok Sabha."
I will make a statement on my recent visit to Islamabad tomorrow at 11 am in Rajya Sabha and at 2 pm in Lok Sabha.
— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) December 13, 2015
Swaraj said following her visit to Islamabad a 'Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue' with Pakistan will begin with the objective of "removing hurdles in the path of a constructive engagement by addressing issues of concern."
Also, it aims at "exploring and establishing cooperative ties," she said, adding initiatives on trade and connectivity, people-to-people exchanges and humanitarian issues would contribute to welfare of the entire region and promote better understanding and mutual trust.
"The new Dialogue, we sincerely hope, marks a new beginning also for peace and development in the whole region," she said.
Swaraj during her two day visit to Pakistan this week, had attended the 'Heart of Asia' conference and held bilateral talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his adviser Sartaj Aziz.
"There we dwelt on the need for Pakistan to expedite the Mumbai terrorist attacks trial. The Indian side was assured of the steps being taken to expedite its early conclusion," she said.
Both sides, accordingly, agreed to a "Comprehensive" Bilateral Dialogue, and directed the Foreign Secretaries of their respective countries to work out the modalities and schedule of the meetings.
However, it is left to be seen if the Parliament continues to be disrupted today as well by the Congress who have stalled both Houses alleging 'vendetta politics' by the BJP-led government over the National Herald case.
The Congress has been protesting after a party Chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi were asked to appear before a Delhi court on 19 December over BJP leader Subramanian Swamy's lawsuit accusing them of financial misdeeds in taking control of the non-operational National Herald newspaper.
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