‘Punjab’s drug problem has worsened during the Akali rule and then they say it’s the Centre’s problem. That is their standard line’


In this Idea Exchange moderated by Senior Assistant Editor D K Singh, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur speaks about the proposed Blue Star memorial, the drug menace in Punjab and Indo-Pak relations

D K Singh: What do you think of UK's decision to engage with Narendra Modi?

Preneet Kaur: I think the decision is a business decision and it is the prerogative of every country and its embassies to interact with people. These days, diplomacy has become economy-centric and one looks for the best places to increase their economic activity. We have ambassadors coming to Punjab and to other states. Gujarat has a good port and it has a lot of business activity. A lot of out foreign trade is through diamonds, diamond cutting, textiles—Gujarat is a hub for those.

D K Singh: Is this the beginning of the end of Modi's international isolation?

Preneet Kaur: I don't think he was ever isolated from the UK. He has travelled to UK privately and as CM, if I recall correctly. The denial of visa is from the US.

N P Singh: How do you react to the Ministry of Commerce wanting to set up a foreign service of its own and post commercial officers in embassies who will not report to the ambassador but directly to the ministry?

Preneet Kaur: I'm afraid I have not heard about this but anybody who is posted in an embassy has to deal through the embassy. If there is already a foreign ministry and a foreign service, then I don't think there can be a parallel one. In some places, we have commercial attaches or defence attaches but that doesn't mean that the defence ministry has put up a parallel ministry.

Maneesh Chhibber: There have been ups and downs in our relationship with Pakistan. What is the latest now? Is the Prime Minister going there any time soon?

... contd.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on indianexpress.com are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, indianexpress.com reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.