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Updated: October 29, 2012 02:40 IST

Khurshid hits the ground running after swearing-in

Sandeep Dikshit
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Salman Khurshid takes charge as External Affairs Minister from his predecessor S.M.Krishna, in New Delhi on October 28, 2012. Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu Salman Khurshid takes charge as External Affairs Minister from his predecessor S.M.Krishna, in New Delhi on October 28, 2012. Photo: S. Subramanium

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid “hit the ground running” hours after the swearing-in at Rashtrapati Bhavan with a briefing by Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and his senior colleagues in the Foreign Office.

In a brief interaction with the media soon after the oath-taking ceremony, Mr. Khurshid reiterated the need to improve ties with China and Pakistan but underlined the difference in approaches towards both countries.

“We are clearer about where we stand with China. We have had differences historically. I believe that the passage of time and emergence of a new economic order in the world have brought China and India far closer together.”

“ … The convergence between India and Pakistan today is on issues that for long we insisted. Many of those issues have now emerged in Pakistan itself and have become a concern for the Pakistani establishment. So if there was ever a convergent point on tackling these issues between India and Pakistan, it is there today.”

Asked about his appointment amid the controversy over accusations of financial misdemeanours by a trust run by him and his wife, he said, “It is for others to judge,” and that one could not “surrender” before those who were just making allegations.

“The Prime Minister and the Congress president have placed a very very important responsibility on my shoulders. It will be my endeavour to ensure that I live up to their very very high standards,” he said.

Confessing that the international scenario had radically changed since the time he was last in South Block in the 1990s with the world now focussing on economic and security issues, he said the country was today battling “some very difficult questions” on the foreign policy front such as the stress on the economy, contested claims on issues such as climate change, restructuring of institutions (the United Nations, the IMF etc), international security and terrorism. “We have managed to tackle all of them with great distinction and that is the tradition that I would like to carry forward,” he said shortly after previous incumbent S.M. Krishna bade farewell to the Ministry’s officials and wished him success.

Except for China and Pakistan, Mr. Khurshid stayed away from commenting on other topical issues on the foreign policy front by pointing out that the session with the Foreign Secretary and his colleagues was the beginning of several rounds of briefing.

“It is a learning curve which will have to be steep because we have really hit the ground running. We have important visitors this week. I will need to get up scratch on everything that I need to know before I get into dialogue and conversations with them,” he said.

On ties with Pakistan, he said: “We want to be able to look at being able to work more closely together, understand each other’s problems and to the extent that we can solve each other’s problems mutually and by convergence of opinion on both our countries. I think it is something that we should work towards,’’ he said.

More In: National | News | States

Statement by the minister "It is a learning curve which will have to be steep" tells the whole story. By the time the minister completes his learning, the country will be facing 2014 elections.

from:  vijayaraghavan
Posted on: Oct 29, 2012 at 12:00 IST

This decision surely shows the confidence the UPA party has on him. Despite the allegations, he has been given an important ministry to look upon with rising tension with neighboring countries on border issues. As a student for now, I can only hope that he performs his duty well as trusting his training as lawyer, he is capable of performing his duty well.

from:  Kumar Gaurav
Posted on: Oct 28, 2012 at 20:29 IST

While congratulating Salman Khurshid for his elevation as Minister for External Affairs, it is curious that in spite of the allegations against him and his wife that they had indulged in forgery, embezzlement, misappropriation of funds of a Trust run by them, he has been entrusted with this crucial portfolio! The reason is obvious.
Sonia Gandhi, who is the prime decision-maker in allocation of portfolios (and it is not the prerogative of the PM), hates the name of Arvind Kejriwal and his IAC movement and Khurshid is the one who, in spite of the revelations by Kejriwal, not only defended himself and his wife, but also challenged him vociferously and called him NAMES (unworthy of the position of Law Minister that he held) and also boldy(?) threatened him. Though an inquiry has been ordered by the UP Govt re. the veracity of the alleged documents, none can assume its outcome and there is now a clear possibility that Akilesh Yadav, the CM, may manipulate the documentary evidence.

from:  TP Radhakrishnan
Posted on: Oct 28, 2012 at 20:22 IST

from one scam tainted minister to another......
the country's interests are in great hands

from:  Hari das
Posted on: Oct 28, 2012 at 19:20 IST

By elevating Mr.Khurshid as Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister has
given an indication to Team IAC that he gives no importance to their
allegations regarding bungling of money which is to be used for
purchase of cycles wheel chairs etc. By changing the face of the union
cabinet the congress high command has created an atmosphere that all is
well in congress. Any comments by Team IAC.........................

from:  Arjun Kumar Vij
Posted on: Oct 28, 2012 at 19:16 IST

Great day for our country when Mr salman whoes trust for the handicapped where there are charges of Forgery , corruption is rewareded as Minister of External affairs.Mrs Sonia Rajiv and PM have
rewarded the corrupt. This can happen only in India. Here the Media is silent about the charges of his Trust and Projects him as a Hero.

from:  ashok
Posted on: Oct 28, 2012 at 19:16 IST

maybe he can get some "foreign" donations for his charitable trusts for the disabled

from:  Hari das
Posted on: Oct 28, 2012 at 19:15 IST

... A nice Bakrid Gift to Salmanji for withstanding Kejeriwal's
onslaught and MMS has gone one step further to what Mulayaamji had said
. " Allow Kejariwal to shout ,don't bother and he will shut up in due
course " MMS has not only kept true to this advice and rewarded
Khurshidji ! Long live Corruption in India !!!

from:  Prof.R.Krishnamurthy
Posted on: Oct 28, 2012 at 19:08 IST
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