News / Asia

India's New FM to Focus on Pakistan, China Relations

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, left, prepares to shake hands with Bangladesh's opposition leader Khaleda Zia as they pose for the media before a meeting in New Delhi, India, October 30, 2012.
Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid, left, prepares to shake hands with Bangladesh's opposition leader Khaleda Zia as they pose for the media before a meeting in New Delhi, India, October 30, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
India’s new foreign minister says he will strengthen relations with Pakistan and China. Salman Khurshid is expected to bring new energy to the government's efforts to improve ties with regional neighbors.

Forging relations

In one of his first comments after taking over as foreign minister, Khurshid said he hopes to work more closely with Pakistan.

Khurshid, 59, is much younger than his 80-year-old predecessor and is widely described as one of India’s most sophisticated and articulate politicians.

Khurshid comes from an illustrious Muslim family. And he is not a newcomer to the foreign ministry -- he was junior foreign minister in the 1990s.

The head of New Delhi’s Center for Media Studies, Bhaskar Rao, says the new minister will give momentum to India’s efforts to resolve differences with its Muslim neighbor.

“First and foremost the name itself rings a bell with people on the other side of the border. On any of these contentious issues, he is not known for taking  [a] hard stand. He is a good negotiator. He would be able to establish a wavelength,” said Rao.

Peace talks between the nuclear-armed neighbors - put on hold after the 2008 Mumbai attacks -- restarted last year. But Islamabad’s failure to prosecute the Pakistani militants who allegedly plotted those attacks has stifled progress.

Common ground

Nevertheless, Khurshid is optimistic and suggests India has more common ground with Pakistan than ever before. He says issues New Delhi has highlighted in the past have emerged as a concern for Pakistan.

C. Rajamohan, a strategic affairs analyst at the Observer Research Foundation, says Khurshid is referring to India’s long-held concerns about terrorism and militant groups based in Pakistan.

“India’s terrorism comes from across Pakistan and [in] Pakistan, much of the threat is coming from within. I think the idea is that look as Pakistan’s civilian leaders and probably even its military recognize that terrorism is a threat to themselves it is possible to work together and try and find a way of working together to combat terrorism and then in the process also look at resolving outstanding disputes like Kashmir and other issues,” Rajamohan stated.

Closer ties with China

Khurshid is also optimistic about India’s ties with China. He says the potential for growth is huge and that the passage of time and emergence of a new economic order in the world has brought China and India far closer together.

As he vows to take India’s foreign policy ahead, the new foreign minister recommends so-call out-of-the-box thinking.

Analysts say Khurshid will likely display more diplomatic skill than his predecessor, whose reputation was battered by several public gaffes.
 
S.M. Krishna once began reading from the Portuguese foreign minister's speech at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in New York. Another embarrassment came when he was accused by his Pakistani counterpart at a press conference in 2010 of having to take his orders by phone from New Delhi.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs