New Delhi: March 1, 2019 - would go down the memory lane as a Red Letter Day in the history of Indian diplomacy. It was the day when for the first time, any Indian External Affairs Minister was given an opportunity to be honored guest at the meet of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) at Abu Dhabi.
"...We (India) will work with you (OIC) to spread the true meaning and mission of all religions; to promote respect for and between faiths and counter the language of hate with the message of harmony," Sushma Swaraj, the then External Affairs Minister, had said scripting history for India and herself.
A genius debater with wit and the necessary knockout, Late Swaraj had certainly given 'inferiority complex' to a galaxy of stalwarts in their heydays -- who have served as Foreign Ministers of India.
Needless to add - her predecessors list includes a few giants of our time - Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Pranab Mukherjee, I K Gujral, P V Narasimha Rao and of course Pt Jawaharlal Nehru himself.
Waxing eloquently - quoting Sura Al Hujurat, the 49th chapter of the Holy Quran, teachings of Sikhism and Swami Vivekananda - she told the OIC to meet that at 50 (years of its foundation), the grouping of 57 Islamic countries - is making a 'new beginning'.
"The fight against terrorism is not a confrontation against any religion. It cannot be. Just as Islam literally means peace, none of the 99 names of Allah mean violence. Similarly, every religion in the world stands for peace, compassion, and brotherhood," she had said.
The invitation extended to Swaraj was also a pat on the back for the Modi government's foreign policy initiatives as the OIC invite came brushing aside strong objections from Pakistan - ironically a nation created in the name of Islam and to safeguard the interest of Muslims.
Late Swaraj had many first in her list of achievements and as Prime Minister, Narendra Modi's foreign minister to she excelled in more ways than one.
Some of her successful foreign policy 'works' included her active involvement in 'organizing' the informal Summit between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
"The decision to host Wuhan (informal Summit) was taken not to resolve any issue but to create a conducive environment. Three main objectives were to ensure mutual comfort, mutual understanding and mutual trust (between India and China). In all the three objectives, we have achieved success," Late Swaraj had articulated well in Lok Sabha during Question Hour on August 1, 2018.
"There is not an iota of change.....We have resolved the Doklam issue with diplomatic maturity without losing any ground. There is no change in the status quo," she had said in presence of PM Modi in the House.
Similarly, on one more occasion, she made an assertive statement before Parliament - on February 7, 2019, she said in House of the People again: "It is not India but Pakistan which is isolated". And this a week before Pulwama terror strike and subsequent developments that isolated Islamabad further.
Late Swaraj brought in an extra-ordinary humane touch in diplomacy as she made herself 'available'
to an Indian in distress overseas.
The likes of Dalbir Kaur, sister of Sarabjit Singh who was sentenced to death in Pakistan over terrorism charge, became her lifetime admirers.
"Her death was something I could not believe initially I did not believe that Sushma madam is no more," Ms Kaur told television channels on Wednesday.
Similar was the case with Fauzia Ansari -- the mother of software engineer Hamid Nihal Ansari, who was arrested in Pakistan in 2012 for allegedly entering that country from Afghanistan. Though charged with espionage, Ansari was repatriated on December 18, 2018.
Talking to a television channel, Fauzia Ansari also in choked voice has interacted with television journalists shortly after Sushma Swaraj's death.
Swaraj's personal involvement with a committed professional approach was also seen when Late Sushma Swaraj took charge of things and formed a core team to handle the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, who is in Pakistan custody also in charge of espionage.
Vishnu Dutt Sharma, MEA's legal division head, was asked to work as a bridge between diplomats and lawyers and senior counsel Harish Salve team got into action.
Late Swaraj and Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran (PAI), from the beginning had insisted that Jadhav should be given consular access and ultimately that was the point that stuck all along in the legal war at the International Court of Justice.
Sushma Swaraj was also in touch with the family of Kulbhushan Jadhav and thus within minutes the verdict came from The Hague on July 17, the former External Affairs Minister had something to cheer about. She had tweeted: ".....It is a great victory for India. I hope the verdict will provide the much-needed solace to the family members of Kulbhushan Jadhav".