New Delhi: External affairs minister S. Jaishankar has said that Union ministers attend events organised by the ‘Overseas Friends of the Bharatiya Janata Party’ during official foreign trips, adding that it as a government tradition to meet the Indian diaspora.
This group, according to Jaishankar, is affiliated to the saffron party.
He was responding to queries raised by Congress MP Syed Nasir Hussain in the Rajya Sabha.
According to the Indian Express, Hussain said that Union ministers had made 220 foreign visits from 2020 till November this year. He was then asked by Trinamool Congress MP Saket Gokhale if the ministers attended events and meetings of the ‘Overseas Friends of the BJP’.
“I am very confident that many ministers would have attended such functions. I have myself done so. And the reason why we have done so is, when we go abroad, we meet members of the Indian community. It is part of our tradition. The (Narendra Modi) Modi government values the Indian diaspora. We know that they make an enormous contribution to the image and to the profile that India has today,” the newspaper reported Jaishankar as saying.
“If members of the community happen to belong to a political party or have political affiliations, that is a fact of life. Primary purpose for which ministers go is official business. Ministers discharge their official responsibility fully satisfactorily and it is visible in the results of the foreign policy,” he said.
Jaishankar’s written reply also highlighted the visits as a means to strengthen ties with other countries and serving national interests.
His reply also stated that 101 memoranda of understanding had been signed with different countries from 2020 till now, the daily reported.