New Delhi: A day after he resigned as the external affairs minister, S.M. Krishna Saturday said he quit to make way for younger people to take over and underlined that his stint saw an improvement in India’s relations with Pakistan and China.
“I met the prime minister and conveyed my thanks for the kind of support and leadership he provided to the external affairs ministry. I have submitted my resignation,” Krishna told reporters.
“The flavour of the season is that youngsters should take over responsibilities. I felt it was time up for me to make way for younger blood to take over,” Krishna said.
“This is no way denigrates the importance of experience. Experience is an important attribute, particularly in pursing foreign relations with other countries,” said 80-year-old Krishna.
Reflecting on his three-and-a-half years as external affairs minister, Krishna said he was “satisfied” at his efforts to bring in transparency in the functioning of the foreign office and India’s improving relations with neighbours and other countries.
“We brought in transparency in the functioning of the ministry,” he said. “We have been able to bring in a number of reforms, including the Haj reforms,” he said.
“Transparency is an unstoppable trend,” he underlined, while wishing his successor good luck.
Krishna stepped down Friday in the wake of a cabinet reshuffle scheduled Sunday morning. His resignation has been accepted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Krishna, a former chief minister of Karnataka, is likely to play a major role in the state’s affairs. Karnataka goes to polls next year.
Krishna underlined an improvement in India’s relations with China and Pakistan and the overall rise in India’s global stature as key highlights of his stint as foreign minister. “The last three years have seen an improvement in our relations with Pakistan and China, he said. We have a border dispute with China but that didn’t affect the overall relationship,” he said.
Dwelling on his efforts to improve relations with Pakistan, Krishna said: “I made two trips to Islamabad. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar came to Delhi. That certainly did improve the relationship between the two countries.”
“Today I can say with a sense of satisfaction that we have a manageable relationship with both countries,” he said.
“India has assumed a high-profile role globally,” he added.