New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government envisages India as a “larger lifting tide” for the entire region in the neighbourhood, said External Affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar.
He also said that the Indian foreign policy thinking is “displaying greater conceptual and operational clarity”.
Addressing a gathering of diplomatic corps and speaking on the theme of “8 Years of Modi Government: Transforming External Engagements”, Dr Jaishankar said, “Whether it is explanation or communication, some of the contemporary catch phrases have been impactful in their public resonance. If you consider Neighbourhood First, for example, it is now clearly associated with a generous and non-reciprocal approach to our immediate proximity.”
“We envisage India as a larger lifting tide for the entire region. Our investments in connectivity, expansion of contacts and promotion of cooperation have also been noteworthy,” said Dr Jaishankar, a former career diplomat and ex-foreign secretary.
The Minister pointed out that whether it was during Covid or the current economic challenges, “India has gone the extra mile for its neighbours and will continue to do so”.
Dr Jaishankar, who joined the Modi cabinet only in the second term in May 2019, further maintained that “India also articulated a sharp awareness of our extended neighbourhood. It is expressed as an Act East policy, a Sagar outlook, a Gulf engagement and a Central Asia initiative.”
Whether it is leadership attention, diplomatic energies, practical projects or shared activity, the record is one of “higher commitment”, Dr Jaishankar said.
Besides, he said, India’s diplomacy has also naturally focused on major powers, key economic hubs, significant energy sources and influential regional players.
Regarding neo challenges thrown by Covid-19, he said the Covid pandemic had not been the only driver of a more “volatile and uncertain world”.
“No question, it has brought out the risks of the over-centralized model of globalization that was being followed. Consequently, it has encouraged the building of reliable and resilient supply chains,” the Minister said.
In this context, he said, “I am sure that many of you have noted the Government’s initiatives to promote manufacturing, facilitate services and improve the ease of doing business”.
But he said the outlines of an emerging economic outlook would also become visible gradually.
“Among its notable elements are Free Trade Agreements FTAs that India has concluded recently, the negotiations underway with others that have picked up momentum,” he said.
Dr Jaishankar also said, “We have conducted that with open-mindedness and objectivity, practicing in foreign policy our maxim of Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas. In seeking solutions to larger complicated issues, we believe in Sabka Prayas as well”.
“Many of our engagements also reflect the importance we give to diplomacy for development, where foreign technology, capital, best practices and collaborations are directly applied to accelerate our national growth, including through our flagship programmes and initiatives,” he stated.