PM says security and economic propserity are central impulses of India's foreign policy

New Delhi, September 14, 2012

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said the imperatives of India's foreign policy had not changed, with security against external threats, economic prosperity and sharing in global public goods remaining the central impulses. 

"A dynamic environment, however, demands constant fine-tuning of the instruments of policy. We must also not remain content with making the best of a difficult external environment, but instead attempt to actively shape a favourable external environment for India," he said in his address to the 4th Conference of Indian Heads of Mission (HOMs) here today.
External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai were amongst the others who addressed the conference today.
The 117 Indian Ambassadors and High Commissioners from around the world also interacted with Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, who spoe about India's security environment and challenges, and the Deputy National Security Adviser, the Finance Secretary and the Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.
Dr Singh said that, in the complex strategic environment that India confronts, it is essential that senior foreign policy managers regularly take stock of policies and evaluate their effectiveness on the ground. 
"Our economy, our polity and our society are resilient enough to overcome the present adversities. India’s future growth and development depends substantially on a favourable external environment. There are also challenges thrown up by globalization, which has led to entirely new paradigms and discourses on issues ranging from the environment and sustainable development to international terrorism, piracy and crime," he said.
The Prime Minister said the Government had worked towards establishing friendly and cooperative ties with India's neighbours.
"We have also emphasized the idea of establishing greater connectivity in South Asia to promote the movement of goods, services, investment and technology so that India’s growth provides the engine of progress for our neighbours. HOMs in the region need to consider innovations that make the most effective and efficient use of our limited developmental resources," he said.
Dr Singh said that, over the last two decades, India's political and economic engagement with the major powers had increased manifold, and its interaction with major emerging economies like Brazil and South Africa in formats like the IBSA, and along with Russia and China in the BRICS, had grown in importance. 
"Africa is on the path of resurgence and it is our stated intention to become a close partner in this process through the India-Africa Forum Summit. I am glad that the Ministry of External Affairs has now established the Development Partnership Administration, which seeks to accelerate the implementation of our development assistance," he said.
"For foreign policy to effectively serve domestic growth needs, it is imperative that efforts be equally geared toward finding economic opportunities in trade and financial flows and assisting the search for privileged access to critical or rare natural resources – these could be sources of energy or other minerals vital for modern industries," he added.
Earlier, while inaugurating the conference, Mr Krishna described the gathering as consisting of "representatives of India’s finest civil servants and best diplomatic minds". 
He acknowledged that many of the Indian envoys are called upon to respond to unusual crises in unusual circumstances and this requires innovative and affirmative interventions. 
Emphasising on the priorities of the government on the foreign policy front, the External Affairs Minister said that an important objective continues to be creation of an external enabling environment for country’s transformation through inclusive growth. 
"Our immediate neighbourhood is of paramount importance for our national interests and outlined the initiatives taken during the course of last year to enhance our interaction with neighbours. We remain committed to building a stable and prosperous South Asia. Our engagement in the SAARC process has gained momentum. The asymmetrical and result oriented approach adopted by us has pushed forward the SAARC process," he said.
Mr Krishna said India was reasonably satisfied at the progress achieved in the last round of the resumed dialogue with Pakistan, given the complexities of the issues that it faces in its relations with that country.
"We are also cognizant of the fact that there is a long way and the path ahead will not be easy. India-China relations, will be one of the most important bilateral relationships in the 21st century. The forthcoming commemorative 20th anniversary summit of our dialogue with ASEAN is a landmark event which would signify our extensive engagement with the region," he said.
According to him, in the area of multilateral diplomacy, India’s global profile has been steadily growing and its credentials for becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council are gaining momentum. 
"India’s developmental cooperation has emerged as an important component of our foreign policy with a number of countries. The establishment of Development Partnership Administration (DPA) was a significant institutional development aimed at bringing all development assistance programmes under one umbrella," he said.

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