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September 10th, 2010

Create environment for India’s progress: Prime Minister

Prime Minister Dr.ManMohan Singh addressing the Heads of Missions Conference, New Delhi, Aug 27

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on August 27 asked India’s top diplomats to aim to create a conducive external environment that would fuel the country’s progress. Addressing the Heads of Indian Missions worldwide, gathered in New Delhi for an annual conference, the Prime Minister said that Indian foreign policy was aimed mainly at pursuing Indian national interests.

“Indian diplomats are facilitating the creation of an international environment that is conducive to India’s progress, development and attainment of its external goals,” he said.

Outlining his vision of India, the Prime Minister said that the foremost national goal was to remove poverty and accelerate the pace of economic development. “We are building modern infrastructure that will stand up to the challenge of a fast moving economy. The nation is also focusing on human resource development, as it is the quality of human resources that determines the standing of a country in the comity of nations. By the same token, science and technology is a major factor of power and wealth of a nation. India has to have the ability to master technology,” he emphasised.

The Prime Minister remarked that India was among the fastest growing economies in the world, which despite the global meltdown in 2008-09, had returned to a growth path of 8.5 percent. Energy availability was critical to attaining a 9-10 percent growth rate, as a 1 percent growth needed 0.8 percent increase in energy availability. Foreign policy also had an important role in securing India’s energy needs, he said.

Reflecting on the international environment, Dr. Singh noted, “We are living today in an increasingly interdependent world. India needs an open trading system and wants to emerge as a major trading nation in the world. G20 has become a key forum for discussing and shaping international economic and financial policies. Foreign policy will also pay more attention to the functioning of G20.”

“India seeks a peaceful and tranquil international environment as well as good relations with all countries, especially with our neighbours and major powers. Foreign policy is also oriented towards East and South East Asia, which are poised for a sustained growth rate in the 21st century. We are engaging them without looking at reciprocity, in our own enlightened interest,” he added.

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Immigration policy not to put up barriers: UK

Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi meets British Immigration Minister Damian Green (New Delhi, Aug 25)

British Immigration Minister Damian Green said on August 25 that his country had no plans to erect barriers and close doors on Indians in its efforts to control immigration effectively.

“I wanted to tackle the perception that Britain’s new immigration policy was about erecting barriers and closing doors. It is not and I hope that I have been able to explain this during my visit,” Green said.

“The aim of the U.K. government is to control immigration more effectively and reduce numbers to more sustainable levels to maximise the benefits to the U.K. and all those coming to work and live there,” he added. Green said that having a “properly controlled” immigration knocks away one of the aspects that extremists can exploit. Such a system will benefit minority communities, which “are otherwise targeted unfairly or scapegoated by extremists”, he said.

Green, on the last day of his three-day follow-up visit to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s official trip in July, also met Overseas Indian Affairs Minister.

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