Indore : Former foreign minister Natwar Singh was in the city on Friday. During a programme at Anand Mohan Mathur auditorium, he threw light on the history and current state of India’s foreign policy. He also spoke of his autobiography ‘One Life Is Not Enough’ that had created controversy with his revelations about Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi. He also shared interesting anecdotes from his political career with the audience.
Intensifying his stance against the Congress, Singh commented that over 10,000 of his book were sold after Sonia’s reply that she would hit back.
Singh further said that Nehru-Gandhi era of Indian politics has come to an end. Now, all eyes are on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He asserted that the only original political ideology that we gave to the world was from Gandhi and it is of ‘non violence and non cooperation’. Singh added that Gandhi was deeply revered everywhere in the world, so what if we seem to have forgotten him.
Singh said that no fundamental departure from Nehru’s foreign policy was possible as there was no alternative ideology.
Singh said that the level of political debate in the first few years after independence was very high. Leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Sarojini Naidu, Rajendra Prasad and others justified the positions they held and upheld ethical politics.
He lamented that as a stark contrast to that, adjournment and ruckus in Parliament are commonplace today. Taking a jibe at Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s recent gesture of jumping into the well of the Lower House to demand discussion on communal violence incidents, he said that it was uncalled for.
When asked to comment on former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee, Singh was all praise of his policies. About former PM Manmohan Singh, he said that he lacked self-respect as he did not resign even though Rahul Gandhi tore apart on camera the ordinance on induction of criminals into the government.
Singh expressed faith in India’s democracy. He said that it is going strong as we are good at crisis management and we can throw anybody, no matter how influential, out of power every five years (through election). He also said that India needs a strong Opposition to keep its democracy up and running.
He recalled his days of service to the Indian Foreign Service and as Foreign Minister and apprised the audience of foreign policy incidents before and during his service. He also answered several questions of the audience. He also opined that politicians should make a dignified exit from politics after 70 years of age. He denied turning against Congress because his son was not given party ticket in recent elections.