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Highlights of Prime Minister's address at the Annual Conclave of Indian Ambassadors/High Commissioners abroad in New Delhi

November 04, 2013

"India in the Changing World: Priorities and Principles"

This is a time of immense flux in the world and you work in an environment of expanding responsibilities, rising expectations and relentless public scrutiny. That you do this with modest resources and often in difficult and dangerous circumstances is to your great credit.

Over these past nine years, our Government has sought to engineer a fundamental reset in our foreign policy based on our national priorities and what we believe is India’s role and destiny in world affairs.

The great leaders of our freedom struggle instinctively saw the intrinsic link between our foreign policy and the economic aspirations of our people. A free India had to be also a prosperous India. This has been the central vision of our foreign policy and must continue to remain so. Therefore, the foreign policy we pursue must reflect our national priorities and concerns and be in concert with our capabilities.

I believe five principles have come to define our foreign policy.

First, recognition that India’s relations with the world – both major powers and our Asian neighbours – are increasingly shaped by our developmental priorities. The single most important objective of Indian foreign policy has to be to create a global environment conducive to the well-being of our great country.

Second, that greater integration with the world economy will benefit India and enable our people to realize their creative potential.

Third, we seek stable, long term and mutually beneficial relations with all major powers. We are prepared to work with the international community to create a global economic and security environment beneficial to all nations.

Fourth, we recognize that the Indian sub-continent’s shared destiny requires greater regional cooperation and connectivity. Towards this end, we must strengthen regional institutional capability and capacity and invest in connectivity.

Fifth, our foreign policy is not defined merely by our interests, but also by the values which are very dear to our people. India’s experiment of pursuing economic development within the framework of a plural, secular and liberal democracy has inspired people around the world and should continue to do so.

As you go about discharging your day-to-day responsibilities, please ask yourselves how these five principles are guiding your work.

I do appreciate that, in recent years, MEA has adapted well to its changing environment and emerging responsibilities. I also recognize that your efforts must be supported by adequate and timely availability of resources. I would urge you, however, to prioritize the use of our limited financial and human resources in the most efficient and effective manner

The work you do is central to the progress of our country.

I hope your deliberations will help the government deal more competently with the world. I wish them all success.

Thank you.

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