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Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addresses Heads of Missions

New Delhi 
December 23, 2008

Prime Minister today addressed the Conference of Indian Heads of Missions organized by the Ministry of External Affairs.

Prime Minister emphasized that India’s foreign policy should be an extension of our enlightened national interests. The biggest challenges which the country faced were the removal of poverty, disease and ignorance. The removal of poverty and emancipation of our people should be given the pride of place in India’s foreign policy. India’s diplomatic efforts should be geared to removing obstacles which stand in the way of achieving these objectives. Particular attention needed to be paid to ensuring food security, the management of water resources, energy security and overcoming technology denial regimes. 

Prime Minister noted that globalization had come to stay, and interdependence among nations was today a fact of life. The implication of this was that the destinies of nations were increasingly interlinked. India was a country that was not well endowed with natural resources on a per capita basis, and therefore India would have to be a major trading nation of the world. Indian diplomacy should be geared to ensuring an open and transparent multilateral trading system, and to overcoming barriers to Indian trade. 

Prime Minister referred to the international security environment, and said that threats such as terrorism and piracy required a well thought out strategy. India sought peace and stability in its neighbourhood. The situation was however worrisome. Non-state actors were practicing terrorism aided and abetted by state establishments. The Mumbai terrorist attacks were an attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power. India would not accept a situation where terrorism is used as an instrument to cripple India’s economy or the values it stands for. 

In conclusion, the Prime Minister said that India was destined to become a major economic and knowledge power which was at peace with itself. India’s diplomatic efforts should be geared in this direction and reflect the aspirations of its people.