In an address at an industry chamber, Sushma Swaraj touched upon various dimensions of foreign policy being pursued and said it has been successful in advancing India’s economic growth, defence requirement, addressing security concerns besides projecting its rich heritage.
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India’s global profile has improved significantly and taking forward ties with Pakistan was the “most challenging” in the last 18 months, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Friday, while commending Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership and rising influence at the world stage.In an address at an industry chamber, Swaraj touched upon various dimensions of foreign policy being pursued and said it has been successful in advancing India’s economic growth, defence requirement, addressing security concerns besides projecting its rich heritage.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Complimenting Modi, she said though he had not played any role at the international stage before becoming prime minister, he made an image of himself in the last 18 months and now is being counted among the most influential leaders in the world.”He is someone who was chief minister for 15 years but never played any role at the global stage. Leave alone prime minister, he was never even a minister at the Centre. The man in the last 18 months have made an image of himself and is now being counted among the most influential leaders of the world. More importantly, he is not only rising. Along with him India is also emerging,” Swaraj said at FICCI.She said India’s relations with all major powers including the US, Russia, Japan, Britain and Germany, have seen an upswing across the board since NDA came to power.”The overall image of India that we have managed to project, even in a short while, is of a country that is serious about meeting its commitments and responsibilities. This has made us a more credible player at international events, as you would have noticed in Paris recently,” she said.On China, the External Affairs Minister said it has been engaged with a greater sense of confidence, whether it is on the boundary problem or on exploring economic opportunities.”Ties with Pakistan have predictably been the most challenging to take forward. However, the recent NSA-level dialogue on security and terrorism and the establishment of a Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue following my visit to Islamabad now offers a pathway,” she said.”Countering terrorism has become an increasingly salient feature of our national security calculations. It has also become prominent in the public discourse about foreign policy. Much of it centres on our relationship with Pakistan, but there are also aspects beyond,” she said.On Nepal, she said India’s traditionally close relations were taken to the next level.”By calling for an inclusive Nepal and urging a political solution to long pending political problems, we are committed to unity, peace and stability of Nepal which will create a more durable foundation for our bilateral relations to prosper,” she said.Swaraj cited declaration of International Yoga Day on June 21 by the UN, evacuation of Indians from Yemen, forceful representations of India’s security concerns and pushing its economic agenda as major achievements on the foreign policy front.About ties with the US, Swaraj said resolution of the long-pending nuclear liability “problem” and working together by the two countries on various global issues reflected the intensity.”It is India’s diplomacy that has today created a situation, where we have ready access to defence technologies from all the key global sources. Not many countries can claim that privilege. Accelerating long-pending procurement decisions at home complements the opportunities that we have created abroad. India’s relations with major powers have seen an upswing across the board since we assumed office,” she said.The External Affairs Minister said the current dispensation is an accountable government and people have right to ask what have you done. She said significant improvement on bilateral ties have been achieved with all the neighbours. “In respect of Myanmar, we are preparing for a political transition, confident that India’s interests are recognised by all parties.”Swaraj said, following the Indo-Africa summit, the ties with the African continent have seen new energy while the summit of Pacific Island States underlined India’s new approach to Pacific island nations.”There is no doubt that India’s international profile has been significantly enhanced in the last 18 months. Our views on key international issues be it on trade, climate change, terrorism or maritime security – are also being given greater consideration,” she said.She said declaration of the International Day of Yoga by UN, which was supported by 177 countries at the UN was symbolic of India’s growing stature.Talking about initial days of Modi government, she said, “Beset by terrorist attacks sponsored from abroad and insurgency at home, there was a growing feeling that a firmer hand was required to steer national security.”Noting that focussing on national heritage has been key aspect of the foreign policy, she said “The India of today aspires to project its own heritage on the global scene. In today’s parlance, we could say that it is to build our national branding.””Even in our short tenure, we have demonstrated our commitment to their well being by organising evacuations in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen. In fact, there has been a sea change in how an Indian in distress perceives the Government,” she said.Swaraj said “two images of the MEA have emerged. One about being influential and the other is about being sensitive.” She said by connecting directly with the diaspora, the Prime Minister has increased their enthusiasm to contribute to the changes underway in India.
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