December 4, 2014 7:51:32 pm
Amid criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s frequent foreign tours, the government on Thursday said the trips have advanced the pursuit of secure and stable environment that India needs besides reviving long “neglected” important ties.
Making a suo motu statement on Prime Minister’s recent foreign visits, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told the Rajya Sabha that Modi had met around 45 international leaders from every inhabited continent of the world in the recent months.
In her statement, she said the Prime Minister had in the past few months laid out a clear vision of India’s role and place in the world, signalled willingness to assume leadership expected from the world’s largest democracy, and demonstrated ability to turn commitments in to action.
“We have revived important relationships that have long suffered from neglect. We have shown our will to speak clearly on our security interests and defend them robustly,” she said.
The country’s pursuit of global aspirations has been accompanied by global engagement, she said amid din created by opposition parties over controversial remarks made by Union Minister Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti.
These visits will contribute in a significant measure to the mission of accelerating economic growth, boosting investment, creating jobs and transforming the quality of life of our people, she said in the statement on the recent trips of Modi to the US, Myanmar, Australia, Fiji and Nepal.
Her justification of the Prime Minister’s foreign visits came against the backdrop of criticism by some parties. RJD chief Lalu Prasad had called him an “NRI” while some leaders made some other sarcastic comments about his being away during Parliament session.
Swaraj gave details of the engagements and outcome of these visits along with foreign policy engagement ever since the NDA government came to power in May.
“Prime Minister has consistently advocated a proactive and innovative approach to foreign policy that is aligned with our government’s primary goal of accelerating national economic development.
“India needs access to capital, technology, resources, energy, markets and skills; a secure environment, a peaceful neighbourhood and a stable world; and an open and stable global trading system,” the External Affairs Minister said.
Talking about the country’s engagement with the US, she said it also “helped secure” India’s interests on food security in the WTO and advance the negotiations on the Doha Development Round of WTO.
She said Modi’s strong belief in a shared future of India’s neighbourhood reflected in several concrete steps like participation of leaders from neighbouring countries at the swearing in ceremony on May 26, his choice of Bhutan as his first foreign destination, and his visit to Nepal, “which was sadly, the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister in 17 years to our closest neighbour”.
The Prime Minister has paid special attention to reach out to the Indian community abroad on a scale that is unmatched, Swaraj said, adding the Indian community abroad has also responded enthusiastically to his call to participate in the country’s transformation, she added.
She said the government has moved with “rarely seen” speed and resolve to rebuild India’s partnerships across the world, setting new milestones.
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