New Delhi, Aug 7 : The day, March 1, 2019, would go down the memory lane as a Red Letter Day in the history of Indian diplomacy. It was the day when for the first time, any Indian External Affairs Minister was given an opportunity to be honoured guest at the meet of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) at Abu Dhabi.
"...We (India) will work with you (OIC) to spread the true meaning and mission of all religions; to promote respect for and between faiths and counter the language of hate with the message of harmony," Sushma Swaraj, the then External Affairs Minister, had said scripting history for India and herself.
A genius debater with wit and the necessary knockout, Late Swaraj had certainly given 'inferiority complex' to a galaxy of stalwarts in their heydays -- who have served as Foreign Ministers of India. Needless to add - her predecessors list include a few giants of our time - Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Pranab Mukherjee, I K Gujral, P V Narasimha Rao and of course Pt Jawaharlal Nehru himself.
Waxing eloquently - quoting Sura Al Hujurat, the 49th chapter of the Holy Koran, teachings of Sikhism and Swami Vivekananda - she told the OIC meet that at 50 (years of its foundation), the grouping of 57 Islamic countries - is making a 'new beginning'. "The fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be. Just as Islam literally means peace, none of the 99 names of Allah mean violence.
Similarly, every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion and brotherhood," she had said. The invitation extended to Swaraj was also a pat on the back for the Modi government's foreign policy initiatives as the OIC invite came brushing aside strong objections from Pakistan - ironically a nation created in the name of Islam and to safeguard the interest of Muslims.
Late Swaraj had many first in her list of achievements and as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's foreign minister too she excelled in more ways than one.Some of her successful foreign policy 'works' included her active involvement in 'organising' the informal Summit between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"The decision to host Wuhan (informal Summit) was taken not to resolve any issue but to create a conducive environment. Three main objectives were to ensure mutual comfort, mutual understanding and mutual trust (between India and China). In all the three objectives, we have achieved success," Late Swaraj had articulated well in Lok Sabha during Question Hour on August 1, 2018.
"There is not an iota of change.....We have resolved the Doklam issue with diplomatic maturity without losing any ground. There is no change in the status quo," she had said in presence of PM Modi in the House. Similarly on one more occasion, she made assertive statement before Parliament - on February 7, 2019, she said in House of the People again: "It is not India but Pakistan which is isolated". And this a week before Pulwama terror strike and subsequent developments that isolated Islamabad further.