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Sushma praises PM's trip to Bangladesh

Press Trust Of India
Sep 14, 2011 at 05:34pm IST

Singapore: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has off late been under attack by opposition parties, was praised on Wednesday 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.

Sushma praises PM's trip to Bangladesh

Sushma Swaraj called for 'careful handling' of relationships with China.

Responding to questions, Sushma, who is in Singapore 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.

She will be meeting Indian business and community leaders on Thursday.

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