External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj apologized for saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed lakhs of “Indians” in Nepal’s Janakpur recently.
The official statement came a day after the Minister, at her annual press conference, commented about Mr. Modi’s recent event at Janakpur in Nepal, which gave the impression that the Nepal citizens at the meeting were part of the Indian diaspora with extraterritorial allegiance to the Indian leader.
In the press Conference, Ms. Swaraj pointed out that Prime Minister Modi had led a campaign of outreach to Indian citizens living abroad.
The popularity of External Affairs Minister on twitter is a well-known fact. She has had a massive fan following on the micro-blogging site due to her quick responses to problems as well as witty replies.
So, when twitteratis started trolling her she apologized gracefully.
“This was a mistake on my part. I sincerely apologize for this,” Swaraj tweeted on Monday night. Whilst comparing him with his predecessors, she said, “Narendra Modi is the first Prime Minister of India who has reached out to lakhs of Indians from Madison Square Garden of America to Janakpur.”
This matter did not end there. Nepali Congress leader and Parliamentarian Gagan Thapa criticized Swaraj for the comments and wondered whether it was a “casual undermining of Nepal’s sovereignty”.
Many saw the remark as yet another instance of India’s big brother attitude and lack of respect for Nepal’s sovereignty.
It also played into the Nepali nationalist strain that is suspicious of the Madeshis, who dominate the Janakpur area, and are seen as pro-Indian, particularly after India’s “unofficial economic blockade” of the land-locked country for over four months from September 2015.
Clearly anticipating a fresh backlash from Nepal at a time when efforts are on from both sides to mend the relationship, Sushma’s move of posting an apology statement was a wise.