Challenges in India’s Foreign Policy - GoI perspective

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    Address by Foreign Secretary at NDC on ‘Challenges in India’s Foreign Policy’

    November 19, 2010

    Commandant NDC Lt. General Prakash Menon
    Faculty members
    Ladies and Gentlemen

    A topic of the nature on which I speak today should I think focus on both the challenges and opportunities before our foreign policy today. In the sixty years since its inception, our foreign policy has evolved and adjusted to meet new challenges and unprecedented crisis situations, as well as risen to meet the needs of intensified economic engagement with the world – an engagement that is designed to meet the needs of an increased inflow of capital, technology, ideas and innovation for our development and our re-emergence as one of the world’s leading economies. 63 years after her “tryst with destiny”, India is now being seen as a major power. Our democratic system, which sustains our re-emergence after three centuries of depletion of our economic strength, is based on a visionary Constitution, whose 60th anniversary we celebrate this year. It is in our enlightened self-interest to propel the peaceful advancement of India as a nation by ensuring a trouble-free, peaceful environment as we participate on an equal footing with our global partners in the process of globalization in the 21st century.

    2. Against this broad perspective, we can now examine the challenges in India’s foreign policy. An article of steadfast faith in our foreign policy, has been to ensure a peaceful, secure and stable neighbourhood, so as to safeguard peace, security and development within our own borders, and it is with this perspective that India is developing a mutually beneficial relationship with her neighbours. We cannot be insulated from our neighbourhood; our growth and prosperity has a beneficial impact on the region, and increasingly, we will have to build closer connectivities in trade, communications and other networks of interaction between ourselves and our neighbours. At the same time, instability and centrifugal forces such as those arising from religious extremism and terrorism in our neighbourhood can and do threaten our own security and development.

    3. I shall now focus on our relationship with our neighbours since this is the first, and perhaps the most intense, level of engagement in our foreign policy. Nepal is passing through a period of political uncertainty and the consensus required for concluding the constitution drafting is still elusive. As a close neighbour and friend, developments in Nepal are of concern to us, more so as we share an open border of around 1750 kms. Even as we engage with political parties to resolve the outstanding issues, we are continuing and expanding our economic, commercial and infrastructural linkages with Nepal which contribute to economic and social development of Nepal. Our bilateral interaction and the two-way traffic of Indo-Nepal relations has proceeded in a relatively unhindered manner. The issue of security cooperation on the open border, tackling common threats like fake currency and arms smuggling and criminal elements who operate in the border areas taking advantage of the openness of the border are concerns shared by both our governments.

    4. Our relations with Bhutan are based on trust, and mutual understanding and are an example of good neighbourliness. We attach high priority to our relations with Bhutan and are happy to assist Bhutan for its development, progress and prosperity. India and Bhutan are responsive to each other’s security concerns and cooperate closely on border management. Bhutan’s democratic transition, which began with the first elections in 2008, is progressing in an exemplary manner. On our part we have happily shared our experiences as a democracy with it through exchanges between our parliamentarians.

    5. The January 2010 visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was a path-breaking one. We are committed to assisting Bangladesh in its developmental efforts in line with their priorities. An unprecedented US$ 1 billion Line of Credit has been extended by India to Bangladesh. But the challenge is to revive our old infrastructural links with Bangladesh as well as address more difficult issues like water sharing, land boundary demarcation, etc in an atmosphere of understanding and trust. The recent meeting of experts from our two countries on addressing outstanding issues related to the demarcation of our borders reflected the positive atmosphere in our relations.

    6. So far as Sri Lanka is concerned, after the cessation of hostilities, our assistance to that country has been substantial, for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of northern and eastern parts, ravaged by the conflict. India has committed nearly US$ 1.5 billion in this direction. The challenge is to convert the cessation of hostilities in Sri Lanka into a durable peace where there would be genuine reconciliation between all the communities in Sri Lanka inclusive of the Tamil-speaking minority. In many senses, India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour. Our defence and security dialogue with Sri Lanka, now that the conflict within the country is behind us, requires special focus in this connection. We also need to work out creative and innovative solutions to the problems facing fishermen of both countries who stray into each other’s waters.

    7. Our defence and security cooperation with Maldives has been strengthened and high-level interaction has ensured that India continues to play a prominent role in the developmental and economic activities of Maldives.

    8. The State Visit of Senior General Than Shwe of Myanmar in July 2010, gave us an opportunity to further strengthen our ties with an important neighbour. Enhancing our connectivity as well as security cooperation is vital, particularly in the context of our north-eastern States and our Look East Policy. We have welcomed the release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as a development that can contribute to the process of national reconciliation and inclusive political change in Myanmar.

    9. With Afghanistan, we are in the forefront of assistance to that country and our attempt has always been to help Afghanistan in its reconstruction efforts as a means to establish stability and improve the lives of the Afghan people. Despite persistent attacks on Indians working in that country, India has reiterated its determination to fulfill its commitment to the Afghan people and government as they build, a peaceful, democratic and pluralistic Afghanistan. The future of Afghanistan as a natural trade and transit hub in Asia, free of terrorism and extremism, where the rights of women are ensured, and civil society is strong and enduring, and the institutions of governance including police and army have the capacity to deal with threats to peace and security within the country, must be ensured. The regional countries have a definite interest in this, and India has consistently advocated the need for close consultations with Afghanistan’s neighbours as this process evolves.

    10. There continue to be differences in perception between India and Pakistan on how to move forward on our bilateral relationship. We want a stable Pakistan which should act as a bulwark against terrorism and extremism, and this is in its own interest and also in the interest of the entire region. We are firmly against the use of terror-induced coercion by Pakistan as a means to force its unifocal agenda on relations with India.

    11. Apart from maintaining close ties with our South Asian neighbours, we continue to substantially contribute to the strengthening of SAARC. India's profile in SAARC has changed considerably, in recent years. We have initiated almost all major proposals in SAARC. We see the SAARC process as contributing to our goal of building a peaceful and prosperous neighbourhood.

    12. Given the unique historical legacy of our region, SAARC has come a long way in the 25 years of its existence. It can be said that SAARC has moved from a declaratory phase to one of implementation. With the SAARC Development Fund functional and two regional projects currently being implemented under its social window, SAARC is slowly metamorphosing into being a service provider for the development needs of the people of the region. In addition, a project like the South Asian University (SAU), envisaging the provision of world-class education opportunities and hopefully building the initial blocks of a South Asian identity, has also commenced.

    13. The implementation of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) in 2006 was a significant milestone. Intra-regional trade in South Asia has begun to grow and has doubled over the past 5 years to over $ 600 million in 2009. What is also significant is that intra-SAARC exports, as a proportion of total SAARC exports, have registered a steady growth. This reflects the growing importance of the region for the overall trade of its Member States. SAARC Member States have also appreciated India’s gesture to give duty free access to LDCs from January 1, 2008, one year ahead of target date and unilateral reduction of its Sensitive List with respect to LDCs from 744 to 480.

    14. However, SAARC inter-regional trade still remains well below its potential and the desired cooperation in the field of security also remains lower than desired. While, there has been a positive change in the attitude of some participating countries in areas like agriculture, S&T and the environment, the challenge for us is to take other members along with us as we strive towards greater integration in South Asia. At this stage, we also need to nurture and consolidate the newly created institutions and ensure that they develop firm foundations which would serve SAARC well into the future.

    15. Iran is part of what has been defined as India’s “proximate neighbourhood”. We share a historical and civilizational relationship. People-to-people and cultural relations remain vibrant and alive today. It is a major source of our energy and hydrocarbon supplies, and is thus important for our energy security. Among areas of discussion with Iran have been regional issues such as the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan, trade and transit to Afghanistan, Central Asia and beyond, and the common threats we face from cross-border terrorism and extremism.

    16. The Iran nuclear issue however poses a challenge, because of the impact of UNSC and more particularly unilateral sanctions imposed by US, EU, Japan, and other countries, which have challenged even normal trade transactions with Iran. India’s stand on the Iran nuclear issue has been consistent. We support the right of all States to peaceful use of nuclear energy, consistent with their international obligations. We believe that the IAEA should have a central role in resolution of the issue, and favour dialogue and peaceful negotiations for settlement of the dispute.

    17. China is our largest neighbour and its rise is indeed a global opportunity as well as a challenge. Neither of us has the luxury of seeing each other in antagonistic terms. There is enough space in the world for the rise of both China and India. Our task will be to remain vigilant and manage the India-China relationship despite inherent complexities and challenges, embedding it in the matrix of dialogue and diplomacy.

    18. Given its continental size and dimensions, India is also a South-east Asian country – consider the ethnicities of our North-east, and our close contiguity to Asean countries like Myanmar and to Indonesia which is a close maritime neighbour. Our Look East Policy, which was originally conceived as an economic initiative, has gained political, strategic, multilateral and regional dimensions. The scope of the policy has broadened to include the Far East and Pacific island nations.

    19. Economically, the Asian region to the east of India has gained tremendous significance. As many as 6 countries (Australia, China, Japan, India, Indonesia, and South Korea) from the region are part of G-20, the world’s premier economic forum. The region accounts for about one-third of India’s trade. India signed its first multilateral trade agreement in the form of India – ASEAN FTA on August 13, 2009 in Bangkok. The East Asia region including ASEAN is our largest trading partner with two way trade between India and ASEAN being over USD 47 billion in 2008. With the coming into force of India – ASEAN FTA in goods, there is an expected increase of US$ 10 bn in the very first year. The next step is conclusion of negotiations in Trade in Services and Trade in Investment agreements, which will act as a catalyst to bring down the cost of production on both sides and further increase our trade. An economically robust relationship between the two sides has enormous potential. Keeping this in view, a new and comprehensive India-ASEAN Plan of Action 2010-2015 was adopted at the 8th India-ASEAN Summit on 30 October 2010.

    20. The ongoing geo-political changes in Asia have been the subject of much comment in the strategic community. These changes would need to be monitored and analysed closely but it is equally important that our responses and reactions are not knee jerk or based on distorted or exaggerated threat perceptions. India supports the evolution of an open, transparent, inclusive and balanced security architecture in the Asia Pacific region. This will involve partnership and cooperation among all stakeholders working together in recognition that the inherent heterogeneity of the region will not allow any top-down approach or domination by any single country. All countries have an equal stake in promoting maritime security and in defending the ‘Global Commons’ by strict implementation of universally accepted principles of international law, allowing freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of maritime territorial disputes. India has been supporting these principles in the ARF for several years. Our Defence Minister represented India in the first ADMM Plus meeting which was held in Hanoi in 12-13 October 2010. This added a new dimension to international efforts to evolve cooperative security architecture in the region.

    21. The East Asia Summit (EAS) mechanism provides India the forum to engage with a larger number of countries of the region in both strategic and economic spheres. This year marked the entry of US and Russia into the EAS process as ‘guest of the host’ with formal entry scheduled for 2011. We welcome their entry which, we believe, will add to peace and stability in the region and also enhance ongoing cooperation.

    22. Recent years have witnessed a significant transformation of India’s relationship with the United States. The post Cold War geopolitical environment, the shift in the centre of gravity of global opportunities and challenges to Asia and the growing challenges of terrorism and non-proliferation have created new opportunities for strategic engagement with the United States.

    23. Our relationship with the United States is important for pursuing our national development goals, through trade, investment and new technology, and in seeking to build an open, rule-based and stable international order that is conducive to sustaining a high trajectory of economic growth over the next two to three decades. This relationship is also important for bringing about adjustments in the global political, security and economic architecture to pursue our interests and aspirations, and fulfill our global responsibility.

    24. The United States was pivotal in re-integrating India into the global nuclear commerce. During his recent visit to India, President Obama announced his country’s support for India as a permanent member of a reformed UN Security Council, as also for India’s membership of the four international non-proliferation regimes – the NSG, MTCR, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement. We have also begun to forge a new partnership in advancing our shared global non-proliferation interests.

    25. Shared values provide a solid bedrock of our relationship with the United States that is now being increasingly invigorated by converging interests. At the same time, we are two independent democracies at different stages of economic development and facing varying circumstances. We will also have to deal with the inevitable divergence in our approaches on some issues, without losing sight of the broad, long-term strategic goals of this relationship and with sensitivity to each other’s vital interests.

    26. The EU is our largest trading partner, biggest source of FDI, an important source of technology, and home to a large and influential Indian Diaspora. We have concluded ten rounds of negotiations on a Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement and issues of concerns to both sides have been identified. India is keen for a successful and balanced outcome of the negotiations. Early conclusion of this agreement will also facilitate our stated goal of achieving Euro 100 billion in bilateral trade by 2013 from the present figure of Euro 60 billion. India looks at the EU for new partnerships in knowledge industries i.e. information technology, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, infrastructure development etc. and transfer of technologies particularly environment-friendly technologies and improved medical innovation. India also wants to see freer movement of its professionals and businessmen in the EU market.

    27. Time tested and enduring ties with Russia form an important dimension of India’s foreign policy. Bilateral relations with Russia are based on a strong national consensus in both countries that has cut across ideologies or political conditions. Russia has been an important partner in defence and nuclear energy cooperation. Our bilateral relationship was re-energized with the declaration of a Strategic Partnership between our two countries during the visit of the then President Putin in 2000. This is nevertheless a relationship that is constantly evolving and with a huge untapped potential for increasing our bilateral engagement, especially in the areas of defence, civil nuclear energy, space, science and technology, hydrocarbons, and trade and investment.

    28. India shares old historical and strong cultural links with Central Asia, which forms part of our extended neighborhood. Post USSR dissolution, India has steadily developed friendly and cooperative relations with all five Central Asian countries. Three of the 5 Central Asian countries namely Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan share borders with Afghanistan. This region has grown in importance with the shift of the strategic theatre to Afghanistan. It is also important to counter the growth of fundamentalist, terrorist and secessionist tendencies which can affect us directly. The Central Asian Republics by virtue of their geographical location and the vast natural resources, including energy reserves in the Caspian Basin, form an area of geo-strategic and geo-economic interest to India. The aim of our diplomacy is to be seen as a benign, non-threatening regional player, involved in capacity building and development. India has to be seen as a friend and partner, tapping a reservoir of traditional goodwill and deploying its soft power through instruments such as IT, Bollywood, and south-south assistance.

    29. India attaches great importance to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, most of the members of which belong to our extended neighborhood. India has played a constructive and important role in SCO as an observer and has consistently articulated its desire to play an expanded and more meaningful role on the SCO platform. We value the role of the SCO in bringing security, stability and development to our region and stand ready to contribute more to the SCO. The SCO can play a critical role in countering terrorism through collaborative efforts and a greater profile in Afghanistan.

    30. Turning to West Asia, India’s consistent and unwavering record of support for the Palestinian cause since the days of our freedom struggle continues to guide our policy in the region. The Palestinian problem needs a solution which has been delayed for far too long. India supports a united, independent, viable, sovereign state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognised borders side by side at peace with Israel. We are hopeful that direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians will resume and the talks and negotiations would lead to a comprehensive peace process for the final resolution of the conflict.

    31. Africa has always been an important cornerstone of India’s Foreign Policy. Our common struggle against colonialism provides the historical underpinning to our relations. This relationship was given a new impetus during the first India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in April 2008, which resulted in a structured programme of cooperation in areas including human resources, capacity building, agriculture, SMEs sector, S&T, IT, etc. Africa is also an important source of crude oil and other natural resources. India imports about 20% of its crude oil requirements from Africa. Over the next five years, an amount of US$ 5.4 billion has been earmarked for Africa to support infrastructure and development projects as prioritized by the African nations themselves. India’s Pan-Africa e-Network Project based on satellite and optical fibre networks to share India’s expertise in education and healthcare, being implemented in 47 African countries, has been recognised for its contribution in the field of sustainable development with “the Hermes Prize for Innovation 2010” by the European Institute for Creative Studies and Innovation.

    32. An important dimension of our partnership is how to coordinate our positions that have seen increasing convergence on global issues such as reform of the United Nations, climate change, WTO, food security, etc. Given that the text based expansion negotiations on United Nations reform will start in UNGA, we need to work together to ensure the stronger presence of the developing countries in the UNSC. Both India and the African Union have advocated expansion of the Security Council in both its permanent and non-permanent categories. Similarly, India and Africa need to work together to ensure that ongoing negotiations in WTO secure a proper share for the developing countries, especially the least developed countries, in the growth of international trade which is commensurate with the needs of their economic development. We also need to evolve a coordinated response for tackling the menace of piracy in the Indian Ocean in order to safeguard our sea-routes and ensure uninterrupted movement of goods and people.

    33. We have been elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for a two-year period beginning in January 2011 with an overwhelming majority of support from the member states of the UN. We are fully committed to the principles and purposes of the United Nations and believe that the UN should be at the core of global governance and efforts to meet the challenges of collective peace, security and development. The UN, however, needs urgent reform to reflect contemporary realities and to effectively meet emerging global challenges. The issue of reform of the Security Council is at the core of the UN reform process. At recent inter-governmental negotiations in the UN, a majority of the Member States expressed support for expansion of both permanent and non-permanent categories of the Security Council. Structural reform of the Security Council and an improvement in its working methods need to be pursued as a priority.

    34. For couple of years now, the ongoing international financial and economic crisis has drawn the world’s attention as it has impacted all of us. The crisis impacted our growth rates, slowed exports and affected investment. From a 9% growth over four years, the Indian economy slowed down to 6.7% in 2008-09. During the current financial year 2010-11, India hopes to achieve around 8.5% growth. GDP growth is expected to reach the 9% level in the next financial year 2011-12.

    35. The global economic crisis of 2008 led the G-20 meetings, which were hitherto held at the level of Finance Minister and Central bank governors, to be held at Summit level. The G-20 has held an unprecedented five Summits with the last Summit held in Seoul last week. The G-20 has provided prompt and effective response in reversing recession and restarting recovery, but the global recovery remains fragile and uneven or multi-speed across countries and regions. India has been playing an important role in the G-20 deliberations.

    36. The Seoul Summit outcome mandated macroeconomic policies to strengthen the ongoing recovery and stability of financial markets, in particular moving towards more market determined exchange rate systems, refraining from competitive devaluations, with reserve currency countries remaining vigilant against excessive volatility. It adopted the Seoul Action Plan including country-specific measures towards the shared objective of strong, sustainable and balanced growth.

    37. An ambitious development agenda was adopted comprising Multi-Year Action Plans under nine pillars viz. Infrastructure, HRD, trade, private investment and job creation, food security, growth with resilience, domestic resource mobilization, knowledge sharing and financial inclusion. The Summit also discussed the issue of global imbalances. In this context, India has proposed leveraging imbalances of one kind to redress imbalances of the other kind. This can be done by recycling global savings through multilateral development banks into investment in developing countries to not only address the immediate demand imbalance, but to also address developmental imbalances. The Indian proposal was endorsed positively.

    38. There is now very little doubt that Climate Change is taking place across the world and the cause is the cumulative accumulation of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the earth’s atmosphere due to over two centuries of industrial activities and high consumption lifestyles in the developed world. Climate change requires a global response. However, such a response must be firmly based on the principles of equity and “common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability” and take into account the overriding imperative of poverty reduction and economic progress in developing countries, as recognized and endorsed by the international community under the UNFCCC. Any long-term goal would be meaningless without concomitant and mid-term targets and GHG reduction commitments by developed countries as committed under the Kyoto Protocol.

    39. Energy Security has emerged as a new cornerstone of India’s foreign policy. India has adopted a multi pronged approach to energy security, which includes import source diversification and acquisition of equity oil, the building of strategic petroleum reserves, increased domestic exploration, and production and fuel diversification. India aspires to a medium-to-long term strategy of implementing a strategic shift from fossil fuels to non-fossil fuels, from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy, and from conventional to non-conventional sources of energy. In order to meet the increased power requirement, India will need to pursue all available forms of energy. Our energy mix currently is 53% based on coal, 31% on oil, 9% on natural gas and only 6% from hydropower and 1% from nuclear energy. If this energy mix remains unchanged over the next 25 years then our dependence on imported fossil fuels will continue. It is estimated that by 2030-31, we would have to import 35-57% of our coal, 90-94% of our oil and 20-57% of our natural gas.

    40. Security in the Indian Ocean region and its periphery is a key to our continuing economic growth, particularly as it is through the sea-lanes in this Ocean that most of our energy supplies reach us, and our exports are transported. The continuing security of our EEZ is also an important issue. The Indian Ocean region assumes importance because of its abundant human resources, technological capacities and harbouring of important trade routes. We have historical and civilisational ties with countries of the Indian Ocean region and there are large Indian communities in most of these countries. The broad-spectrum of our ties with these countries has a strong economic and socio-cultural dimension.

    41. The maritime dimensions of our foreign policy have come to acquire increased relevance and intensive focus in recent years. Through our history, we have been a sea-faring nation, as the chronicles of our ties with South-east Asia, the Roman Empire, the East Coast of the African Continent, and the countries of the Arab Peninsula so graphically illustrate. The maritime dimension of our nation's history has moulded our identity as an outward-oriented nation rather than a country that is locked into a land-centered continental presence. After a hiatus brought about by the focus on our land borders in the initial phases of our development as an independent country, it is this dimension that we are called upon to increasingly keep in focus as our markets are increasingly integrated with the outside world, the safety of sea lanes of communication becomes a priority, in dealing with anti-piracy, ensuring coastal security, and putting in place a network of cooperation and dialogue that is open, inclusive, balanced stressing a dialogue oriented approach for security and development. The Indian Ocean is a key expanse of water that links both East and West, straddling major trading areas, centers of population, and sectors of concern from the point of view of our security. The growth of our naval capabilities enables us also to work out mechanisms of cooperation with other friendly navies to be net providers of security in the region, and also for emergency and disaster management as we saw during the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004. This aspect, as also the emphasis on building close bilateral ties with the Indian Ocean countries, in capacity building, security ties, political and people-to-people contacts, is receiving increasing attention in the decision and policy making circles of Government.

    42. The problem of international terrorism has been a core foreign policy concern for India for over two decades now. There was a time when terror groups were limited in their ideology, reach and lethality and strong internal security measures and deft political handling by national governments were sufficient in dealing with them. With the emergence of the information age, terrorism is today a truly borderless menace and a technology-intensive enterprise. Nations find it difficult, if not impossible to tackle this scourge in a time when recruiting, planning, financing, and training for terror operations can all be carried out outside their borders. Recent years have also seen operational coordination between terrorist groups based across different countries. In our neighbourhood, the Al Qaeda, the LeT and the Taliban have all been found to be operationally fused. There are also increasing concerns among the international community about the nexus between fundamentalism, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. This global scourge requires a sustained global response.

    43. India has been the victim of the most vicious kind of cross-border terrorism over the last two decades. This continues to find support within Pakistan and is used against us as a political and economic weapon. For some in the international community - political expediency, short term gains, geopolitical considerations, faulty analysis, double standards - all these and other reasons unfortunately have in the past blurred the clarity and focus on how terrorism should be dealt with.

    44. India is working with the international community to counter the common challenge of terrorism. Our partners have increasingly come to realize that segmented approaches to the problem of terrorism have not worked; nor has the approach of differentiating between lesser and greater evils in this context. What hits us today could well turn itself towards another nation tomorrow. Over the past couple of years, we have seen an enhanced understanding of this fact. We endeavour to cooperate bilaterally with our partners in improving sharing of information, countering terror finance, building capacity in our anti-terror mechanisms, exchanging best practices, and strengthening our mutual legal assistance and extradition regimes.

    45. Multilaterally, we piloted the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the UN, since we were convinced that existing sectoral conventions left wide gaps in the global anti-terror legal framework. We continue to work with our partners around the world to adopt this long overdue Convention. We have recently become members of the Financial Action Task Force, the world’s premier inter-governmental organization that sets and monitors standards in anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-financing of terrorism (CFT).

    46. Despite a complex regional and global environment, India’s policies have been marked by a sense of responsibility and restraint. We have been one of the earliest proponents of nuclear disarmament. Even as a nuclear weapon state, India remains steadfast in its support for the global, universal and non-discriminatory elimination of all nuclear weapons. India has a policy of no first use of nuclear weapons and their non-use against non-nuclear weapon states and we support enshrining them into global legal arrangements. Terrorists gaining access to WMDs has emerged as a major threat for our national security as well as globally. We remain engaged with the international community through participation in initiatives like the Nuclear Security Summit and the Global Initiative in order to combat nuclear terrorism to address these challenges.

    47. There is in some sense, a duality that India contends with -– one as a developing country working to sustain inclusive domestic growth with a view to eradicate poverty and enhance prosperity for its own citizens and the other as a re-emerging global power with the requisite intellectual acumen and economic weight to work out solutions to global problems in cooperation with the developed as well as the developing economies. This ability of India to literally hold the world in its hands, because of our pluralism, our diversity, and our relevance in terms of the developmental experience we have accumulated, and our responsible image in the world, has resulted in our increasingly being called upon to play an increasingly substantive role whether it is the G20 or the various fora of the United Nations, Trade deliberations or Climate Change negotiations.

    48. In an increasingly complex and inter-dependent world, new challenges appear and have to be tackled. The challenge before our foreign policy is to ensure an effective management of our security challenges and dynamically evolve effective strategies to address them. For instance, there is growing realization of the importance of preserving the “Global Commons” – Space, Ocean, Air, and Cyber Space. With its size, technological capabilities, and standing as a responsible country, India is recognized as an important stakeholder and partner in these processes. We will continue to participate constructively in the furtherance and shaping of these efforts.

    49. In the ultimate analysis, foreign policy is a reflection of the priorities that a nation defines for itself as it seeks to develop, to be secure, to withstand threats from across its borders, to ensure that its national and developmental interests are not diluted by actions by hostile players in the global arena, to guarantee a level playing field for its professionals and its business and industry as they increasingly access the global market, to ensure strategic autonomy, and to enable the flow of capital and technology that can build a modern nation in an inclusive, unimpeded manner. The challenges we face in the conduct of our foreign policy are dictated by the external environment and also by the dynamic created by public opinion and constituencies within the domestic arena. Foreign policy does not reside in some elite fastness but is moulded in the debates and discussion that come out of the arena of democracy. The practitioner of foreign policy therefore is networked constantly with other arms of government, particularly the security and defence apparatus, the economic ministries, and also those dealing with human development. Responses to the challenges we face are shaped and calibrated by the imperatives of the nation’s interest, first and last. At the same time, with power comes ever increasing responsibility – responsibility in weighing every move we make and positions we take with the realization that India is one of the key players on the global stage today and will be called upon increasingly to deploy its manifest strengths in the interest of global peace and development.

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