External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj dismissed any perception of being overshadowed in her work by a “proactive prime minister”, saying she views it as a “support”.
Taking questions on all issues, including on the perception that she has been keeping a low profile after becoming minister or on being sidelined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been following an active diplomatic engagement, she said the prime minister has not put any restrictions on her.
“A proactive PM is a support, not a challenge. I take it as a support,” she said.
To a question on her keeping a low profile, Sushma Swaraj said that this goes with her work profile. She said as leader of opposition, she was visible and spoke on different issues openly, which she could not do as foreign minister. “The prime minister has not put any restrictions on anyone, least of all me,” she said.
To a question on competition between colleagues, she said she does not believe in competition and that the entire team of ministers plays as one
To the opposition’s criticism of Modi’s foreign visits, terming him a “NRI PM”, she rejected the perception.
“The perception is wrong,” she said and added that Modi had to attend all the multilateral summits, and that there was not much difference in the number of visits by Modi and that by his predecessor Manmohan Singh.
Sushma Swaraj also said that she is to visit Jordan, Palestine and Israel this year and Modi would visit Israel too.
She said there is no change in the government’s Palestine policy and termed reports to the contrary as “wrong perception”. “We will never let down Palestine,” she said.
She also discounted that the government was following an obsessive foreign policy and said it was linked to the domestic policy and the government’s flagship programmes of Make in India, Digital India, Swachch Bharat, and Smart Cities.
“It is not obsessive foreign policy, but complementary,” she said.