India playing role in shaping global agenda, says Sushma Swaraj

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said that India was now playing an important role in shaping global agenda and listed hike in FDI inflows and “increased confidence” among the diaspora as among the major achievements of the NDA government in the last two years.

Addressing her annual press conference here, she said that Narendra Modi govermment’s foreign outreach had brought many benefits to the country.

“Aaj jab Bharat bolta hai, duniya sunti hai (Today when India speaks, the world listens),” she said.

“We have an important role in shaping global agenda. We are not silent spectators in global meets… We take initiatives,” she said.

She said India was able to convince other countries about its “climate justice” principle at the world climate conference last year and had taken initiative for international solar alliance. She said June 21 was observed as International Yoga Day following the initiative taken by India.

Sushma Swaraj said FDI inflows were to the tune of $55 billion (Rs 369,000 crore) in the last two years which was a jump of about a 43 per cent over the UPA rule.

“Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) does not come sitting at home,” she said, in an apparent dig at the critics who have often slammed Prime Minister Modi’s frequent overseas travels.

She said that National Democratic Alliance government has already engaged with 140 nations since it came to power.

“By the end of this year, there will be no country left with where we would not have reached out,” she said.

She said government had received feedback that there are 65 countries which have never been visited by a union minister and noted that the government was working out a plan for high-level visits to these countries.

Sushma Swaraj said the government’s outreach had helped enlist assistance in its flagship schemes also and US, France, Germany and Britain are taking part in the ‘Smart Cities’ programme.

He said there had been 13 agreements with Australia alone on skill development.

She said that due to Prime Minister’s initiative to engage with diaspora during his foreign visits, they have “a greater sense of confidence”.

“The diaspora has confidence that if they got stranded anywhere, they will be saved. We have proven this by saving around 7,000 people from Iraq, around 3,500 from Libya and around 4,500 people from Yemen (including foreigners),” she said.

She also said that lot of improvement has been made in the passport service and passport offices have been opened in all the north eastern states.

“Our government issued 98 lakh passports last year, which is much more than the record of UPA goverment,” she said.

Sushma Swaraj also released a book “Mapping new frontiers – two years of pathbreaking diplomacy” and a booklet “Pathbreaking diplomacy.”

Minister of State V. K. Singh and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar were among those present at the press conference.



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