The government has placed special significance on India’s foreign policy and diplomatic outreach, making 2014 a year of “breakthrough diplomacy”. But 2015 promises to take foreign policy to a higher level with ‘diplomacy for development’ as the theme of India’s global engagements, according to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.
In a signed introduction to the e-book titled “Breakthrough Diplomacy: New Vision, New Vigour” that was released on Wednesday, Sushma Swaraj outlined the hectic diplomacy that the Narendra Modi government followed by “revitalising traditional ties, re-setting strategic relations and reaching out to Indians abroad”.
“2014 has truly been a year of breakthrough diplomacy. India’s star is today shining ever brighter on the global firmament.”
Outlining the forthcoming events of the new year, she said the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, coinciding with the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India, the scheduled visit of US President Barack Obama for the Republic Day celebrations, plans for the largest India-Africa Summit, and new steps to ‘Link West’, all promise to make 2015 an even more grand affair.
“With ‘diplomacy for development’ as the overarching theme of our global engagements in 2015, we will pursue the vision of a ‘Rising India’, with new vigour and even greater resolve,” she said.
Sushma Swaraj outlined the bilateral visits by Modi and herself in keeping with the government’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy.
She said she visited five of the seven South Asian neighbours.
On Sri Lanka, which she has not visited, Sushma Swaraj said she hosted the Sri Lankan external affairs minister at home.
On Pakistan, she said: “At times of agony and pain, we have reached out to Pakistan.”
On reaching out to neighbours, she mentioned ‘Operation Neer’, when the Maldives faced a grave water crisis, the support for a national memorial at the site of the gift of the largest national flag to the people of Afghanistan as a symbol of India’s commitment to Afghan unity and stability, helping re-open the Colombo-Jaffna rail link after 24 years, and ‘Made in India’ defence exports to Nepal, the Maldives, Mauritius, or multilateral – the SAARC satellite by 2016.
“… they are all a reflection of our government’s vision of India’s shared future as an integral part of a peaceful, secure and prosperous comity of nations in South Asia, and the world beyond,” she said.
The external affairs minister outlined the government’s efforts to secure the release of Indians in peril, including in Libya and Iraq, and said the “uncertainty about the fate of 39 Indians in Iraq continues to weigh deeply on all of us. Our efforts will continue unabated”.