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January 1st, 2009

Our foreign policy should be an extension of our enlightened national interests: PM

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addressing at the meeting of the Heads of Mission in New Delhi on December 23rd 2008.

A three-day conference of Indian Heads of Missions (Ambassadors and High Commissioners) was inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi on December 22. The conference was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and altogether 114 Indian envoys took part in the meet.

Addressing the meet on December 23, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh emphasised that India's foreign policy should be an extension of "our enlightened national interests".

"The biggest challenges which the country faced were the removal of poverty, disease and ignorance," the Prime Minister said. "The removal of poverty and emancipation of our people should be given a place of pride in India's foreign policy. India's diplomatic efforts should be geared to removing obstacles which stand in the way of achieving these objectives. Particular attention needed to be paid to ensuring food security, the management of waterresources, energy security and overcoming technology denial regimes," Dr. Singh added.

The Prime Minister noted that globalisation had come to stay, and interdependence among nations was today a fact of life. "The implication of this was that the destinies of nations were increasingly interlinked. India was a country that was not well endowed with natural resources on a per capita basis, and therefore India would have to be a major trading nation of the world. Indian diplomacy should be geared to ensuring an open and transparent multilateral trading system, and to overcoming barriers to Indian trade."

The Prime Minister also referred to the international security environment, and said that threats such as terrorism and piracy required a well thought out strategy. India, he said, sought peace and stability in its neighbourhood, but the situation was "worrisome" as nonstate actors were practicing terrorism aided and abetted by state establishments.

Dr. Singh stated that the Mumbai terror attacks were an assault on India's ambitions to emerge as an economic power and the country would not accept a situation where terrorism is used as an instrument to cripple India's economy or the values it stands for.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister said that India was destined to become a major economic and knowledge power, which was at peace with itself. India's diplomatic efforts should be geared in this direction and reflect the aspirations of its people.


Our economy has proven to be competitive and resilient: EAM

Minister, Pranab Mukerjee

External Affairs Minister, Pranab Mukerjee delivered the inaugural address at the Heads of Missions Conference on December 22, at the DRDO Bhavan in New Delhi. He highlighted the way India has emerged successfully on the global front and asked the heads of the Indian missions to explore ways to manage the global financial crisis and place the country in a position to play a role in any future international economic.

Mukerjee said that "the world is in the midst of transition covering both political and economic spheres".

"The global economic crisis shows no sign of ending soon. Issues of energy, environment, food security and water, to name a few, are becoming more complex. Above all, the effects of the processes of globalisation are throwing up new challenges, but they also provide opportunities for our national endeavours. We have to ensure that our interests and security are safeguarded and promoted. As a stakeholder in thev international system, we need to manage the strategic shifts that are under way to maintain our stability and security and bring prosperity to our people.

Excerpts:

"Relations with neighbours: We live in a difficult neighbourhood. Each of our neighbours is undergoing a domestic transition. It is heartening to note that most of these transitions are proceeding smoothly and have led to the spread of democracy. Our relations with each of our neighbours, apart from Pakistan are better than before. Both Nepal and Bhutan have new democratically elected governments and Bangladesh is soon going to hold its national elections. It is also a matter of some satisfaction that we have been a factor for stability and peace in the region and our economic growth is having an impact beyond our borders.

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'India will take all necessary steps'

Referring to the recent acts of terrorism in India's neighbourhood, Mukherjee said: "In our neighbourhood we have continued with our efforts to deepen engagement, either bilaterally or multilaterally and even by assuming a built-in asymmetry in responsibilities. An objective assessment shows that this policy has yielded results except with Pakistan. We have so far worked at several levels. We have sought the support of the international community to put pressure on Pakistan to deal effectively with terrorism. We have also highlighted that the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan has to be dismantled permanently. This terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is the greatest danger to peace and security of the entire civilised world.

"There has been some effort so far by the international community but this is not enough.

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'Oil prices should be reasonable'

India's Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Murli Deora,

India's Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas, Murli Deora, emphasised the need to rediscover a stable market with transparent regulations, at the 'London Energy Ministers Meeting' recently.

He suggested that the forum set up an expert group for making recommendations regarding putting in place a regulatory mechanism to restrain unhealthy speculative practices and to bring in absolute transparency to the crude oil market.

Excerpts:

'It is my proud privilege to represent India in this august forum 'London Energy Ministers Meeting'. The timing of the meet could not have been better when all of us are together fighting one of the biggest economic meltdowns. There was an unprecedented boom; then the collapse. Who imagined this ? There were some indications and apprehensions which we discussed.

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