New Delhi, Jan 5 (ANI): 2010 was an eventful year for Indian diplomacy, which witnessed a qualitative expansion of strategic relations with key partner countries and a robust engagement with India's neighbours.
"In a year of unprecedented diplomatic engagements, the Government of India hosted 24 Heads of States/ Governments and 30 Foreign Minister level visitors. In the same period, the Indian President, Vice President and Prime Minister visited 5, 6 and 11 countries respectively for various multilateral/bilateral engagements," The Ministry of External Affairs reports.
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visited 18 countries in 2010, in which most of India's diplomatic engagement naturally focused on the neighbourhood.
At the sixteenth SAARC summit in Thimpu, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh articulated a vision of prosperous and vibrant South Asia playing its rightful role in shaping the global discourse on issues facing the developing world.
Dr. Singh met Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at the SAARC summit, and the two sides expressed their resolve to make sincere efforts to reduce the trust deficit between the two nations and to resolve outstanding bilateral issues through dialogue.
Moreover, India's active engagement with its neighbours saw the visits to India of Presidents of Nepal, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, the King and also the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Head of State from Myanmar.
The State visit of President Pratibha Devisingh Patil to China in May and the visit of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to India in December, respectively, marked the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and China.
"The External Affairs Minister paid official visits to Kathmandu, Beijing, Thimphu, Tehran, Islamabad, Kabul, Yangon and Colombo. He inaugurated the Consulates General of India in Jaffna and Hambantota in Sri Lanka," the Ministry of External Affairs further reports.
President Pratibha Devisingh Patil also paid State visits to Laos, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates and Syria, where she was received with great warmth and affection.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to Saudi Arabia resulted in up gradation of the bilateral relationship to a level of Strategic Partnership.
As part of India's 'Look East Policy', Dr. Singh visited Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Bilateral understandings were reached on Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreements with Japan and Malaysia. The India - ASEAN FTA in goods became operational on 1st January boosting trade ties. Both sides are currently negotiating an FTA in services and investments.
India was privileged to host the Presidents of Seychelles, South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi.
External Affairs Minister SM Krishna travelled to Mozambique, Mauritius and Seychelles to underline India's growing multi-faceted engagement with Africa.
The second India Africa Forum Summit will be held in Africa next year, which would be an occasion to further deepen relations with Africa.
In the second half of 2010, India hosted Heads of State/Government of all the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, covering visits of Prime Minister of UK (July), President of the USA (November), President of France (December), Premier of China (December), and President of Russia (December).
This is widely seen as a visible acknowledgment of India's growing regional and global profile. At the Toronto and Seoul G-20 Summits, Prime Minister deliberated with fellow leaders, on steadying the global financial ship, which had barely emerged from turbulent waters.
The Prime Minister also participated at the Nuclear Security Summit (Washington), BRIC and IBSA meetings (Brasilia), EAS and ASEAN Summit meetings (Hanoi).
The year also saw India's election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for 2011 and 2012 with the unprecedented support of UN member nations (187 votes out of 190 valid votes). Four of the five P-5 members have expressed support for India's membership as permanent member of an expanded UNSC.
India's quest for ensuring its energy security was acknowledged, including India's pursuit of civil nuclear energy cooperation, which has become an important area of strategic partnership with several countries.
India's decision to open a Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership was well appreciated. India's diplomatic interaction covered the entire spectrum of areas ranging from high technology trade, civil nuclear energy cooperation, space, defence, strengthening counter terrorism initiatives, bilateral trade, investments, and cultural exchanges and promoting people to people contacts.
All these have added substance and quality to India's engagement with friends and partners around the world. (ANI)