New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said India’s foreign policy has shown “considerable dynamism” in recent times and called for a united global stand in the fight against terrorism.
“Our foreign policy has shown considerable dynamism in recent times,” he said in his address to the nation on the eve of the 70th Independence Day.
“We have reinvigorated our historic bonds of friendship with traditional partners of Africa and Asia Pacific,” he said.
He was referring to the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (Fipic), a multinational grouping developed in 2014 for cooperation between India and 14 Pacific Islands nations of Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
All heads of state and government of these countries met in Suva, Fiji, in November 2014 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit for the first time where the annual summit was conceptualised.
In October 2015, all 54 countries of the African continent participated in the India-Africa Forum Summit hosted by New Delhi.
The President said there would be “no stepping back” in India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy.
“We are in the process of forging new relationships based on shared values and mutual benefit with all countries, especially our immediate and extended neighbourhood,” Mukherjee stated.
“There will be no stepping back on our ‘Neighbourhood First Policy’,” he said.
He said that the “close bonds of history, culture, civilisation and geography provide the people of South Asia with an extraordinary opportunity to carve out a common destiny and to march together towards prosperity”.
“This opportunity must be seized without delay. India’s focus in foreign policy will remain on peaceful co-existence and harnessing technology and resources for its economic development,” Mukherjee stated.
“Recent initiatives have enhanced energy security, promoted food security and created international partnerships to take our flagship development programmes forward.”
The President also called for the world to come together in the fight against the global scourge of terrorism.
“The world has witnessed a spate of terror activities with their roots in radicalisation of people on the basis of religion,” he said.
“These forces, apart from killing innocent people in the name of religion, also threaten to disturb geopolitical divides, which could prove disastrous for world peace,” he said.
“The inhuman, mindless and barbaric modus operandi of such groups have been visible in France, Belgium, United States, Nigeria, Kenya and closer home in Afghanistan and Bangladesh recently.”
Stating that these forces posed a danger to the entire comity of nation, he said: “The world will have to fight them unconditionally and in one voice.”