India sought a peaceful, tranquil international environment: Manmohan Singh

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New Delhi, Aug 27 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, on Friday said India sought a peaceful and tranquil international environment as well as very good relations with all nations, especially with the neighbouring countries and the major powers.

"Foreign policy should also be oriented towards East and South East Asia which were poised for a sustained growth rate in the 21st century. India, by and large had good relations with her neighbours. We were engaging them without looking at reciprocity, in our own enlightened interest," said Dr Singh in his inaugural address to the Heads of Missions (HoMs) at Vigyan Bhawan today.

The Prime Minister observed that foreign policy was basically aimed at pursuing India's national interests.

"Indian diplomats were facilitating the creation of an international environment that was conducive to India's progress, development and attainment of its external goals," said Dr Singh.

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 were building modern infrastructure, which would stand up to the challenge of a fast moving economy.

"The nation was also focusing on human resource development, as it was the quality of human resources that determined the standing of a country in the comity of nations. By the same token, Science and technology was a major factor of power and wealth of a nation. India had to have the ability to master technology," Dr Singh emphasized.

The Prime Minister remarked that India was among the fastest growing economies in the world, which despite the global melt down 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 one percent growth needed 0.8 percent increase in energy availability. Foreign policy had a very important role in securing India's energy needs," said Dr Singh.

Reflecting on the international environment, Dr Manmohan Singh noted that we were living today in an increasingly inter-dependent world.

"India needed an open trading system and wanted to emerge as a major trading nation in the world. G20 had become a key forum for discussing and shaping international economic and financial policies. Foreign policy had also to pay more attention to functioning of G20," said Dr Singh.

During the three-day conference, the Heads of Missions will call on President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.

They will also be addressed by Home Minister P Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony, Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) President Karan Singh and National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon during the conference.

The HOMs will participate in a series of interactive sessions covering a wide spectrum of foreign policy issues, including developments in our immediate and extended neighbourhood, relations with key nations and regions, as well as, regional and international issues of importance to India. (ANI)

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