New Delhi, May 30 IANS | 6 months ago

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with his invite to the SAARC leaders, has shown that he is capable of "thinking out of the box" with regard to foreign policy and his manner and style of foreign policy will be different from the earlier regime, said former diplomats here Friday.

According to Chinmay R. Gharekhan, who was at one time India's Permanent Representative at the UN and then served as a special enovy to West Asia, the BJP government will conduct its foreign policy with "more self respect, taking into account national interest".

Compared to former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Modi's style of communication with foreign leaders was "more direct and communicative", he said at a talk at the Indian Women's Press Corps on the subject of 'New Government and its Foreign Policy Initiatives'.

According to him, Modi in his seven bilateral meetings was business-like.
"He had brief notes with him that he had written himself in pencil. He had studied the talking points provided by the ministry of external affairs, but he hardly referred to his notes. He had obviously come to grips with the subject.. Manmohan Singh would also study his notes very well. But Modi's style is different, it is more direct, more communicative," said Gharekhan, who had evidently been briefed by ministry officials.

According to Gharekhan, except for Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, with whom he spoke in Hindi, and with the rest a mixture of Hindi and English. "Modi carried on a conversation in English (with those who spoke in English) but the finer points were conveyed in Hindi," said the diplomat, which was then translated by an official translator.

Former diplomat and strategic affairs expert K.C. Singh aid Modi was looking at foreign policy "through the windows of Gujarat". Singh said the new government was "talking of style and not content", and "making policy as they go along".

According to Singh, if Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had not come to attend Modi's swearing-in it would have been a setback to Modi. "(Ajit) Doval was ringing up many people repeatedly" to ensure that Sharif came, he said.

Singh said that the government had begun well. "It scored a sixer on the first ball.. But this is not IPL (Indian Premier League Twenty20). This is a Test match," he said.

(Posted on 30-05-2014)

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