Immediately after the attack on Parliament, no Indian politician has got the spine to go to Pakistan forr the SAARC summit arranged there. Sushma Swaraj was sent in the profile of I&B Minister of India, and the below is the great interview she gave to PTV. The interviewer was Syed Talat Hussein and the date is March 8, 2002
PTV: Thank you, Mrs. Sushma Swarajji it is a matter of great pleasure that you have been kind enough to spare your precious time for the programme to answer a few questions that arise in the minds of the people of India and Pakistan. The crucial point is that these questions seem to defy satisfactory answers. It is your second visit to Pakistan, isn’t it?
Minister (I&B): Yes, it is.
PTV: What sort of sessions did you have? Had there been some opportunities to exchange views?
Minister (I&B): No.
PTV: Not yet?
Minister (I&B): Yes, this is my second visit. But it is strikingly different from the last one. During my visit two and a half years I was just a citizen of India that is why we had open discussions. But now I am here as a minister and am restricted to certain formalities such as meeting the ministers of SAARC countries; and am confined to places like hotels, rooms, conferences and so on. I have no opportunity to meet the masses.
PTV: In the light of your discussion what do you think are the feelings of the people of Pakistan for the people of India. Was the discussion free from the sense of terror?
Minister (I&B):It was all free from the sense of terror because the discussion was confined to the political people. Such discussions are restricted and measured, that too when one is on a visit meant for a particular purpose. As an illustration, SAARC is a multi lateral forum which does not include bilateral issues. Under such well defined and restricted conditions one’s discussion beyond the stated bounds will have to be more awfully confined and limited.
PTV: President Gen. Pervez Musharraf talked about lifting the bans on the flights of India and Pakistan and restrictions on issuing the visas. What was the reaction of your Government?
Minister (I&B): Being a minister I am not authorised to comment. For your information, I would like to say one thing that it was practically not feasible for our Govt. to respond so quickly. But it is really surprising as to how the President raised this issue here where no bilateral issue is discussed. The basic reason is that Gen. Pervez Musharraf is the President of Pakistan. He is independent and free to take any decision and announce it anywhere. But India is a democratic country. Even the P.M. is not independent and free to make such declarations and announcements from any forum or dias. Before a response to any thing, In our country the matter has to be reviewed and has to undergo a process before the response is made. We have a cabinet and Parliament and everything has to be decided through an approved process, similar is the case with the imposition of a ban as well as lifting it.
PTV: One of the officials of P.T.I. quoting your foreign official said that he was not ready to respond at that time. You reject it. Does it imply that it was not a correct reaction?
Minister (I&B): No. Not at all. I had already said that I was not authorised to make any response. Similarly, no foreign official is entitled to make any response, neither negative nor positive.
PTV: The external ministry does not have the authority to respond; so, small wonder how the newspapers published it. Was the news true or false? The fact is that the newspapers become the part of problems.
Minister (I&B): Which news do you refer to? I am not aware of it, So I can’t discuss it.
PTV: We can discuss different issues and measures by leaving other affairs like: whether this matter can be quickly responded or not and other processes related to the cabinet and Parliament. We should discuss the points which will help foster faith and mend the embittered relations.
Minister (I&B): I have already told you that I am on a visit with special aims and objectives. Bilateral issues are not discussed here. I might have to attend the SAARC meeting if it had been in Columbo, Dakka, Maldives or any where for that matter, with the same objectives, as per the defined norms. I do not want to undermine the importance of SAARC. It is a Forum constituted for the regional Co-operation. This is the reason that the Indian Govt. decided to send me to attend the meeting in Islamabad without any reservation and preconceived notion. If the Indian Govt. had not sent its representative it would have been a lapse on its part. It is just a chance that the meeting is held in Islamabad. And this is still a chance that I am the Minister for Information and Broadcasting and this conference is meant basically for the Ministers for Information and Broadcasting. This is not my visit to Pakistan, rather I am here to attend the SAARC meeting as a minister. So, I didn’t discuss bilateral issues before leaving India nor will I here.
PTV: I do agree with you. It is right in the light of the procedural point of view. The SAARC meeting had been postponed in past years due to the relations being embittered. India said that there are no favorable conditions and the SAARC conference can’t be held.
Minister (I&B): No. See, everything was altogether different in Kathmandu. The P.M. himself went back to India from Kathmandu to take a decision. He initiated one thing, so why should we talk about the past whether it had been so or otherwise? The SAARC forum must be free to hold a meeting anywhere. We should participate in it wherever it is held.
PTV: What has happened earlier will not be repeated, at least with reference to SAARC.
Minister (I&B): No. Not at all.
PTV: The People of Pakistan want me to ask you as to when the Indian Govt. will withdraw its army from the border.
Minister (I&B): Again, you are rehashing the same thing.
PTV: But we are yet to attend the SAARC meeting. We are just sitting in the T.V. Studio and are reflecting the feelings of the people.
Minister (I&B): I would again like to say that this is beyond the objective of my visit. If you insist on it, I would like to say that the forces have not been deployed on the border without reason or rhyme. It is not an ordinary decision to deploy forces on the border. There must have been critical conditions under which the forces had been deployed. Now, the question is whether there is some change in the conditions.
PTV: How did it all happen and why?
Minister (I&B): It is crystal clear. It goes without saying. Whatever happened after the 13th December – one after another, would alarm any country to be vigilant enough to ensure the national security. If the forces have been deployed on account of these, the forces may be withdrawn provided that the conditions are congenial and conducive. If there is some agreeable change in the condition, no one would like to deploy the forces on the border.
PTV: What situation are you talking about? We would like to know. Please speak explicitly.
Minister (I&B): Speaking openly and explicitly too has its restrictions. I am a minister and am airing my views on the TV channel of a foreign country, this too is a binding and restriction for me. I am not here for bilateral talks so I can’t transgress the limit. Still, I have said that the Indian Govt. has asked the Pakistani Govt. for certain issues: we gave a list of men and demanded that Pakistan hand them over to us; we demanded that cross border terrorism be eliminated and asked the Pakistan Govt. to ban intrusions and infiltration. The relations have been embittered on account of certain reasons and in order to mend the severed relationship, the condition has to be made conducive and congenial. If the ground situations are agreeably changed, the forces will be withdrawn from the border and the relationship will be renewed and maintained. Thus, such meaningless decisions ….
PTV: Should not be taken. All right. You mentioned two things: the list of 20 persons and intrusion. To my information, state if it is wrong, most of the names given in the list are not at all directly linked with the present conditions and situations. Such conditions have been prevalent for last 15 to 20 years. So far as other names are concerned, some of them were in your custody but you filed no suit against them. Now people ask as to why this was not raised earlier.
Minister (I&B): I do not want to go in details of these things. It does not mean that I have no answer to this question. I do have but, as I have already said, I am here on a visit to attend the SAARC meeting, whatever I spoke here is a token discussion. One can’t discuss these things on the TV channel. If you want to discuss it at length, adopt the right way and use the right forum. There are some other things too for which the Indian govt. has asked the Pakistani Govt. for action. The Pakistani Govt. verbally committed itself to be doing the same. But mere lip service does not do. One has to do at least part of what one has committed oneself to do wholly.
PTV: Who will be judge? Who will say if the things committed verbally have been accomplished or not.
Minister (I&B): Naturally, the same country.
PTV: Pakistan says that it is doing.
Minister (I&B): Let me know what Pakistan did.
PTV: Who will be the judge? See, every thing needs evidence. One party labels charges against the other party and vice versa. But there must be an arbitrator. There is no other solution to the problem other than appointing an arbitrator. If India says something, Pakistan answers. But India says that it is wrong. And Pakistan sticks to it because it believes that it is right and justified. Now, who will decide as to which of the two countries is right.
Minister (I&B): You are again mistaken in your approach to the issues you should be aware of the fact that once India and Pakistan decided not to have any arbitrator. There would be no third party mediation because they would solve their problems through bilateral discussion. Now there is no need of an arbitrator. If we put forth certain ways to initiate a discussion, it sounds good. If you ask us to do some thing, only you have to scrutinize our response. There is no need of an arbitrator.
PTV: Correct. But we have also witnessed something contrary to the decision. India took the problem of terrorism to America before Bush, Clinton and many other forums of the world. Does not it sound ironical, if we say that there is no arbitrator between India and Pakistan?
Minister (I&B):It is good that you raised this issue. There is a striking difference between terrorism issue and that of Kashmir. We will solve mutual problems through bilateral discussion. We took up cross border terrorism at the international level and there is a positive and efficacious response. Pakistan was also a party in coalition in this regard where terrorism was condemned in strongest sense by Secretary of State Colin Powell, the European Union, Russia, China, France, Britain and so on . Terrorism is an international problem. There is a global coalition for fighting and eliminating it. It is no bilateral issue.
PTV: It means that you will decide as to which issue you will take to the international forum and which one you will decide through bilateral discussion.
Minister (I&B): No, I won’t. The then Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan decided it through bilateral discussion. I am just repeating it. Take Shimla. The then Prime Minister of both the countries sat together in Lahore and Shimla. Governments do change, here as well as in India. And some government or other stays in power. If something has been decided by the previous government, the present govt. must abide by it, must make it functional and operative.
PTV: It means that the human role is mentioned in both Shimla as well as Lahore.
Minister (I&B): Yes it is. But I believe that you are drifting in a different direction.
PTV: But it is not that important an issue.
Minister (I&B): To me it is important, this is why I believe that terrorism and our bilateral issues are two different things. Terrorism is an international problem. And the credit must go to India that did a lot for getting it included in the international agenda. Now there is a global coalition to fight and end terrorism. This is an answer to your question whether I’ll decide. I have nothing to decide. I am repeating what my predecessors said, what the past government did and what our present government is doing in consonance with these decisions. Bilateral relations will be decided through bilateral discussion. There are two cornerstones: Shimla agreement and Lahore declaration. Decisions were taken together by these two countries, not by me.
PTV: But there is another realistic point of view to be kept in mind. This is what I am saying, one party says that it has done such and such things but the other party says that it has not done anything. As a result one million forces have been deployed and there is an outbreak of uncontrollable fury and violence. People say that it has become the flash point and nucleus acceleration may occur any time. I am talking about perception. But we if we stick to it that no arbitrator will allow to mediate, nothing substantial may be done or initiated.
Minister (I&B): It is good for both the countries that they decided that there would be no arbitrator. It is really bad for you to allow the third party mediator. If the problem is going to be solved, it will be through bilateral discussion only. So, you should advise your government. not to make a mistake of having an arbitrator. The third party belongs to none of the two main parties, thus it is indifferent to them and is for no good to any party. It does not matter much if the problem is stretched, lingers on. Under all circumstances, we have to decide on our own. As far as your statement ‘One party says that it has done such and such things but the other party, says that nothing has yet been ‘ is concerned something substantial done can’t be concealed. It will be observed by one and all because it is a ground reality.
PTV: Who will tell?
Minister (I&B): It will be visible to every mind’s eye. Situations will themselves bear witness. It is not something abstract. One can’t have the temerity to claim that one has done such and such thing without having really done.
PTV: How many people of India go to Kashmir and how many of them infiltrate, give us some statistics here.
Minister (I&B): Statistics.
PTV: You are of the opinion that it is concrete.
Minister (I&B): Needless to say. The government have all statistics. It is also needless to mention the statistics on the T.V. channel.
PTV: You just talked about statistics but you say that you do not carry.
Minister (I&B): No, I do not have now. I was not aware of it that you would ask me such a question. But I am sure, the government do have the statistics of about two years. They have also exchanged the same.
PTV: Do you mean to say that what ever is happening in Kashmir is breed by Pakistan?
Minister (I&B): It will be better by far, if we steer our discussion to other issues. Initially I told you not to discuss these things because I know that my answers will sound harsh. Your question is quite straight forward but my answer to this question will sound rather curt.
PTV: Let the answer come.
Minister (I&B): No, I wont. It is a breach of code of conduct to answer curtly while I am a guest here. Besides, it will also be a breach of India’s code of conduct. We had better move to some other issue.
PTV: Our act of turning to some other issues will not solve the problem.
Minister (I&B): Problems will surely be solved. The government will sit together. But they will not be solved within thirty minutes as we are sitting here.
PTV: If the problems are confined and related to governments, they must solve them on their own. But here we are talking of the whole region where fifth of this humanity lives. Whatever happens between India and Pakistan affects our lives. We see millions of them. If we believe that every thing will be resolved by the government, then why at all it has not been solved within the span of 54 years. Every step has been taken: pacts were made, there were bilateral discussions as well; ministers also had their rounds, Gen. Zia also did the diplomacy; committees were constituted but nothing substantial was done. Still one million forces are deployed on the border.
Minister (I&B): Your first sentence refers to our good relationship. There will be no question of bilateral forum, if we have no good relationship. But it is not correct. Why were the bilateral issues removed from SAARC charter? It was done so because such issues may embitter the relationship to the core and there will be no regional co-operation. Those people were not at all dense. They were farsighted and wise ones. This is why they did not club the regional co-operation forum with bi-lateral issues and the problems. You can’t club these two, if you wish success in your attempt. We will not be able to discuss other things when you say that the charter of SAARC is redundant I do not feel that we are here for declaring it redundant. I do not feel that we are given to believe that bilateral contention and issues may be found in every region, not only between Pakistan and India. It may arise in Nepal, in Bangladesh, sometimes amongst themselves. There is no violence to mention here. We have already mentioned the problems. If we believe in the sentence you spoke in the beginning, we will prove that SAARC is redundant.
PTV: I had some stories to exemplify. So I spoke in their light. And there is no denying the fact that the summit was postponed again I talked to other minister as well, for example, the minister of Bangladesh who was of the view that first they should solve their problems on their own. We do not speak publicly. Privately we should decide and solve our problems. Only then can the SAARC be furthered. This is why I spoke such a sentence. Now tell me the solution to the Kashmir problem.
Minister (I&B):Again the same issue.
PTV: What is the solution?
Minister (I&B): No, not at all. I have been answering your questions but now I plead to change the topic of the discussion. It is not at all apt to discuss this issue here and now.
PTV: You would not like to discuss it today?
Minister (I&B):I am not here to discuss this issue.
PTV: What to discuss then?
Minister (I&B):Talk about SAARC and other issues. You have an inkling regarding the subjects and issues to be discussed.
PTV: The issues and topics that I have got are the ones pooled from the public for the sake of feedback. According to the feedback I should ask those questions which arise in the minds of the people. These questions defy answers. I thought to be fruitfully benefited today from you. But do not want to talk on these topics. Let me know how you will further the SAARC programmes.
Minister (I&B):Take today’s meeting. It was in a congenial atmosphere. The best thing is that all the decisions were unanimously taken. There was no dissension at all. Bilateral contentious issues of Pakistan and India did not at all find a mention. The issues discussed will not be decided tomorrow in the light of the relations between India and Pakistan.
PTV: Will it be implemented?
Minister (I&B):If it is not implemented, it is meaningless to hold a discussion.
PTV: Our airplanes do not go to India. Pakistan is not authorized to air India’s T.V. channel. There are restrictions on visas. The decisions and established issues are not implemented and you are now talking about regional visions.
Minister (I&B): Again you jumped at bilateral contentious issues.
PTV: These are realities.
Minister (I&B): These are the realities but …………..
PTV: You don’t want to talk about it.
Minister (I&B): SAARC came into existence in presence of these realities. Those who constituted SAARC were directly related to these realities but they constituted SAARC so that other issues may also be dealt and discussed in a congenial atmosphere. It also helped a lot in the creation of congenial atmosphere. As already mentioned, some issues other than these were also discussed. These are not today’s problems. As mentioned by you, they have been lurking for last 54 years. Now tell me, when was SAARC constituted? It means that all issues were there when the SAARC was constituted. It was recorded in its Charter that bilateral contentious issues will not be discussed. The SAARC Charter remains intact without any amendment in relation to discussion of bilateral issues.
PTV: To my mind, the SAARC could not realize its full potential because it has……….. . How can one receive information and exchange views? Those who do not move from one country to another will not be able to talk about exchanges. How will the information flow? From where will the regional information order come? So, I believe that finally bilateral issues will be the points of discussion. It does not matter whether you discuss them today or not.
Minister (I&B): Bilateral is not the point at issue. If bilateral issues are to be discussed there must be some amendments in the SAARC Charter. And it will be decided by the members of the summit. One may talk about it when the Charter is amended and expanded. In the presence of these things, as issues were raised here today…. Everyone was of the view that it must be so. There must be general consensus among all the countries concerned to impart training. If we believe in its potential, we’ll need skilled manpower. There was a discussion regarding the website on the resources of each SAARC country so that SAARC countries may be aware of one another’s resources. There had been a good deal of discussion regarding co-operation in commercial sector. Decisions will be taken tomorrow. Your Minister for Information and Broadcasting, who presided over today’s meeting, will read out the decisions.
PTV: There is a difference between what you hear and what happens. We have seen that the SAARC’s entire potential has become paralyzed because bi-lateral relations between two major countries are not normal. We do not talk of that today. Let us discuss regional issues.
Minister (I&B): No, let me tell you first that I do not agree with what you are saying. And do not put such a big question mark on implementation……………. No doubt the way the past few years have passed has shown us that the potential of SAARC has been lowered. However, the initiatives taken in Kathmandu are worth noticing. And I feel that the decisions taken by us are well thought over decisions, and you will see their implementation as well.
PTV: Let us talk of regional peace. Serious doubts are being expressed world over about the regional security of South Asia. Where has your government stood on regional peace.
Minister (I&B):It is not just today. India’s commitment to peace is quite undiminished. Look! India is known as a peaceful nation. We gave the principle of non-violence to the whole world. It deeply shocks me if one talks to us by pointing a finger at India’s peaceful character.
PTV: You have even told the first meaning of South Asia.
Minister (I&B): And what did I say subsequently?
PTV: That peaceful means yourself.
Minister (I&B): Not peaceful. Even after that, what I talked. As far as the question of becoming nuclear is concerned, even at that time, Atalji had clarified that it was a must (inevitable) to become nuclear, in view of our national security needs. But who did speak about the purchases? Just tell me one thing: nuclear bomb was developed in May, but who took the initiative of going to Lahore in February? This was just to show …
PTV: You will make a nuclear bomb and will simultaneously make a journey for peace?
Minister (I&B): He came personally to say that even after becoming nuclear there was not even the slightest rupture in our clear commitment to peace. Yes, to say this and tell the world what a strange thing was happening. The two countries had become nuclear and scared of each other. However, (India), being larger, took the lead. Give me an example of such an initiative ever taken in the world. There are several nuclear club members. Did any of them take such a step? Our commitment to peace has not diminished. To clearly demonstrate this, the Indian Prime Minister came over here.
PTV: Commitment is an expression of action and the action to nuclearise the region was taken by India.
Minister (I&B): No. But through actions he showed his commitment to peace also. But in spite of being in possession of nuclear bomb his arrival here to talk peace is something important. The Lahore Declaration was India’s first step forward. But of no avail! If we had stuck with you in Kargil, what would have been the result?
PTV: A bit of Kargil. We ourselves ask to talk about Kashmir and resolve the issue.
Minister (I&B): This is not the forum between you and me to discuss such matters.
PTV: You talk of regional example. They say India is undoubtedly a champion of the cause of peace. And you have just spoken about actions. Lately, the recent defence budget witnessed a sharp increase. Arms deals with Russia were signed and talks with America about arms were held. Missiles were also fired. Just tell me who is posing a threat to India?
Minister (I&B): It is not a question of threat alone. It is a question of national security. And it has its own perspective. Security needs have to be fulfilled in that perspective. If one is talking about world peace, one has some acceptance… Because he is a part of whole system. According to a couplet in Hindi by poet Dinakarji, you have the right to ask for pardon, only if you are strong. If you are not strong enough, you cannot talk of pardon and peace. If you are not mustering strength you are not talking of peace. ..
PTV: So, India wants to become powerful.
Minister (I&B): Not only India but all countries want to become powerful. But if you talk of peace with power it shows that you are powerful. Talking of peace without power demonstrates your weakness. What we are saying is that despite being powerful our commitment to peace has shown no sign of decline.
PTV: The expression of rights is present in a concrete form while peace is manifested in words.
Minister (I&B): Not in words but in action. This I am repeatedly saying. Do not stop with the bomb alone. Remember the Lahore trip following the nuclear test. On the one hand there is action of might while, on the other, it was an action of peace. Not in words, it is rather in actions. It is an unprecedented initiative taken by the PM who himself came here (Lahore) to embrace Nawaz Sharif. Not a Prime Minister from Pakistan has ever visited India so far. Our stepping into Pakistan is itself a testimony to our acceptance of Pakistan and which has been also recorded. The Declaration was made here but it is another thing that the conditions worsen after the return. But in our country………….
PTV: President Musharraf went to Agra despite severe strains. What happened at Agra?
Minister (I&B): Now if you would like to analyze the entire episode of Agra. Your team might have analyzed it.
PTV: Yes I observed it remotely. I was away from the…….. Even that’s why I could always near objectivity in some people’s opinion Agra is the biggest disaster for Pak as it was not even expected that an agreement will be reached with Pakistan. The agreement was about to be signed. Mr. President says that just the chairs were put there and no success was achieved… what happened at Agra.
Minister (I&B): why should I go to all such (details)……..
PTV: One minute. If you are talking of Agra why not to talk of Lahore.
Minister (I&B): That is what I am saying. We had taken the initiative on Agra. I would like to talk of Agra because it was initiated by us alone. The unilateral initiative on cessation of hostilities was also ours. I had stayed in Lahore…
PTV: Why did you not enter an agreement?
Minister (I&B): If you will become obdurate and say that it is a core dispute it will have to be brought to the table and no mention will be made of cross border terrorism. And on that too these will be a dispute today. As you just said whenever negotiations have taken place it needed the participation of both the sides.
PTV: Is it not a fact that some ministers, your minister of ………… affairs. He said that it will be given for typing within 15 minutes and perhaps is ready for signatures… Is it not a fact?
Minister (I&B):It is what you have been told?
PTV: Talk of your own
Minister (I&B): What I have been told is that it is not correct. Where these two things will lead us.
PTV: Near Kolhapur……….
Minister (I&B): Where will we go upto? What I am saying is that if you talk of Agra, I had stopped at Lahore, as I did not want to move further. But if you are talking of peace initiative, let’s go ahead. Look, in spite of Kargil, we extended ceasefire. Although in the usual sense it was not a cease-fire, it was a peace initiative, which was extended several times. After all, Agra initiative, following unilateral cessation of hostilities, was India’s own peace initiative.
PTV: It is said that the hawks in the Indian Cabinet undermined it.
Minister (I&B): All such things have been wrongly by said and you are misinformed. We have no difference between hawks and moderate. There are self-conceived notions that in the cabinet there are some hawks and some moderates. You put the labels of hawks and moderate on people on your own accord. But I, as an Indian minister, tell you that we are unanimous. At Agra the whole Indian delegation was unanimous. There was no destructions of hawks and moderate. No difference there was among us.
PTV: It was Pakistan who insisted at Agra on not touching the core issue of Kashmir and Terrorism.
Minister (I&B): Yes. Right you are
PTV: The unsigned paper of Agra Declaration we have its page 2 contains.
Minister (I&B): Better if you do not read that as I won’t be able to reply.
PTV: No! The mention of terrorism in it. …..
Minister (I&B): No ! Once you said that it is unsigned. Now how could I know what kind of document you are holding.
PTV: Shall I show to viewers a false document over TV.
Minister (I&B):No! It is not the question of false or true.
(Mr. Talat Hussein was trying to read the paper while Sushma Swaraj was interrupting him not to read the paper)
PTV: Jammu and Kashmir. _____
Minister (I&B):It is not the question of false and true. I do not know which document you are reading.
PTV: Jammu and Kashmir, Peace and security terrorism and drugs.
Minister (I&B):No! Why shall you read? Why. It is say you have fabricated it. It is not that document. What will you say? I say that I don’t know the paper you are reading. Who knows what sort of document has been handed to you. What are you reading? Diplomacy necessitates it that every comma and full stop of a signed paper…. and also I will tell you that you are scores of rough drafts before the main draft. All these drafts preceding it are redundant. I do not know which of the redundant drafts you are reading. If nothing was signed, there, then it is a fact that there was no draft on which both the countries had unanimity.
PTV: How will things move forward now?
Minister (I&B): What we have expected it should reflect in ground reality, as there being a change on the ground. Things can move on only after that
PTV: Would you define change? What this is?
Minister (I&B):I won’t define. The Pakistani government knows what I want to say about change. They know every thing.
PTV: It is the stand of Pakistan government. You have, no doubt, provided a list, not the evidence.
Minister (I&B): Again you are referring to the list and insisting on evidence I say that whatever is conveyed to you or to me is not the same as it really is.
PTV: Then what?
Minister (I&B):It is the Foreign Office. It is in touch with the Foreign Office. They know every thing what we expect from them. We had given them everything in writing. They also know that they have done nothing about that. If something on the ground changes, certainly a change will be visible.
PTV: What will happen if you suppose that there is a change?
Minister (I&B):I am not an astrologer to forecast the future for you. There are forums for this. When there will be a formal response and it will appear in written form then the things will move on along it and they are ultimately bound to move together, amidst stagnation and hurdles and progress. All these things there have been. These stages I have enumerated. There are many a stages from the bomb to this day. There is Lahore trip after the nuclear bomb. And the Lahore trip is followed by Kargil which is, in turn, followed by uniform moratorium of hostilities. Then comes the invitation for Agra summit. Then there is 13 December and the happenings of 13 December. And deployment of army. But things do not stop at a point. If it does not stop, it is al right. It moves on when the obstruction is a little off the way.
PTV: Sushmaji you have rightly said that there is a stalemate. The things may perhaps progress further but they must have a mechanism.
Minister (I&B):I know this
PTV: After all it is not a magic wand
Minister (I&B): There is no magic wand
PTV: You do not have even your high commissioner in Islamabad
Minister (I&B): Nor I am talking of magic wand but of hard realities ….. people of both sides know. Pakistani government knows. Just call Pakistan’s foreign minister in my place and ask him what are India’s expectations. What have they expected from you. Why don’t you reciprocate?
PTV: Ask them these questions only if they could like to respond. We are responding to that Sushmaji but ……………. look in legal debate … . The matter is that when there are conflicting views one has to play that part of a judge you are not according acceptance to the judge. Your say that you will discuss common issues later on.
Minister (I&B): None is needed to play judge. I again tell you that people do not need to see on TV what Minister (I&B): Swaraj is saying. What is PTV: asking. Soon after that they will step forward do take action.
PTV: Please would you tell, before leaving, our viewers what is the political future of the BJP. We have analysed thoroughly and seen that BJP was badly beaten in the elections and the results were opposite to what was expected. No. Perhaps we should not use the word ‘beaten’.
Minister (I&B): You may use that word
PTV: How do your look at the future
Minister (I&B): Future is very clear & bright. India is vast country with so many states and democracy. There are elections and when these are election are in a democracy, victory is a part of every election. We have witnessed the days when we were only two members in the Indian Parliament, then the number rose up subsequently to 87, 112 and 182 and today we are the biggest party are in power. In India the congress was swept away 1977 and came back in 1980. This is an integral feature of elections. We have seen defeat and victory so many times and will see it in future too. Defeat is followed by victory and vice versa. See it has not put a question mark on our future.
PTV: All the Indian analysts are giving wrong statements
Minister (I&B): What are they saying
PTV: That BJP’s future is not bright.
Minister (I&B): Media men have written or lot about a number of persons. In 1977 following the defeat of Mrs. Gandhi. They wrote she had come back…. after complete 2/2 years. They wrote about us when we were away and Rajiv Gandhi become victorious with-403 He said that an end has been put to not only BJP but to all opposition parties. 403 wale Rajiv Gandhi was defeated in the next elections. Therefore, just see that in a democratic country such things will not happen. I ponder over on this point and pray God for the change of government through democratic and electoral process at least in India.
PTV: But some say the happenings in Gujarat are an insult to democracy that……
Minister (I&B):I was on the verge of saying that none can say anything else on this issue. Our PM has himself said that all this is quite painful to the extent of the loss of our VSP. We used to proudly say that during our three-year rule there took place no communal riot. But the riots that have taken place have emerged as a black spot. However, there is an element of satisfaction also.
PTV: What are the responsibilities of BJP. They say there is a chief minister of hardliner BJP who is behind all these happenings and encouraging the trouble.
Minister (I&B): Let me first tell you that this is not true but wrong and secondly, it was the same BJP chief minister’ who controlled the riots within 40-48 hours. That is why if any credit is to be given to BJP it is of controlling the riots earlier.
PTV: 1200 people were burnt alive and still you are giving credit (to BJP)
Minister (I&B): No, No. It is the credit of bringing the situation under control soon.
Minister (I&B): Killing of only a single person is in itself shocking. The dead should not be counted. If even a single person is killed and that too in riots it is a black spot for us. That is why I am not counting the dead but rather saying that I have admitted that its is a black spot for us. There is something about which we can express satisfaction. Riots have taken place in this country even earlier. But they have been controlled comparatively earlier and it is the BJP chief minister who has controlled, I am saying so. Therefore if you see the facts you see both-the sides. That riots broke out there is in itself wrong. There were casualties in the riots, it is worse. Godhra is at fault and the people of Gujarat who killed later in violence are also at fault. Both are guilty. But we have a sense of satisfaction that the situation was brought under control soon.
PTV: Sushma Swarajji we are highly thankful to you for attending this programme. We had a lot to speak to you but for want of time. See you again
Minister (I&B): Sure.
PTV: Thank you very much
Sourced from . I haven’t got any clue why this is not on the website referenced.