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'Awesome' to External Affairs Minister: Khurshid

November 02, 2012 20:04 IST

A smiling Salman Khurshid on Friday said it was "awesome" to be the minister of external affairs and stressed that while he has a lot to learn, it won't be like waking up to find a whole new world.

At his charming best, Khurshid tried to flatter the journalists on the External Affairs beat and joked that it would be a little more "pleasant" than answering questions on Uttar Pradesh.

He said he was "pleasantly surprised" at the remarkable number of initiatives being undertaken by the MEA and the scale at which they are moving forward.

"I was very pleasantly surprised with an excellent foreign affairs office. The talent is no less than it was when I was in the ministry," Khurshid, who had worked as a minister of state in the ministry in 1993-96, said.

He added though there is a lot more work to be done but "greater efficiency and competence is visible even at first sight".

"I won't use the word 'being in great awe' but I would be happy to use the word awesome. It is a word that more people understand these days than it was understood in the past," Khurshid said in his first official press conference after taking over office on Sunday.

He said there will be a lot of learning to do because there are new things happening in the world.

"The world has changed while I was away from this ministry. But since I wasn't asleep all this years, it is not that I am rubbing my eyes and discovering a world.

"A lot of what you have been writing and telling people is something that I have been reading since there is no extra cost for reading what you write on external affairs," he said, inviting peals of laughter from those present.

Khurshid said he was not sure whether he would ever come back to foreign affairs but "I would not say that I never wanted to come back to foreign affairs".

"So, I am happy to be here, feel greatly honoured that I was found suitable to be in office," he said.

He noted that there are some very serious foreign ministers around the globe.

"Some of them said that 'welcome to travellers club'. I know I have a lot of travelling to do," he said.

The minister said the first three days in office have passed "pleasantly".

"I am very happy to see I would be chased around by prominent and successful and wonderful journalists like all of you and it would be a little more pleasant than answering questions on Uttar Pradesh.

"So, let's take it one step at a time. I am willing to learn. I have been a teacher too. So, I will learn from those who can teach me and I will teach those who can learn from me," he said.

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