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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2962

India Promises Support To Initiatives For Political Solution In Sri Lanka

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

New Delhi, 30 May ( President of India addresses a joint session of Parliament’s lower and upper houses, the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha when they meet for the first time after a general election and in the first session of every calendar year.

The address is a general statement of government’s intents and a broad review of its plans and planks. The Cabinet drafts it and presents it to the President who reads it on behalf of 'my government'.

The 5244 words 46-paragraphs long devoted just 476 words in four- paragraphs towards the end of the address to foreign policy issues – where Delhi stands on issues of interest to its neighbors.

'My Government's foreign policy', President Pratibha Patil said, 'will continue to pursue India's enlightened national interest, maintaining the strategic autonomy and independent decision-making that has been its hallmark'

She said India has a vital interest in the stability and prosperity of our neighbors. ‘The highest priority will be accorded to working with our friends in SAARC to promote stability, development and prosperity in the region’, she said and told Parliament ‘Government will sincerely work with our neighbors to ensure that outstanding issues are addressed and the full potential of our region is realized.

Turning to Pakistan, the main focus of India’s foreign policy, Patil said, 'My Government will seek to reshape our relationship with Pakistan depending on the sincerity of Pakistan's actions to confront groups who launch terrorist attacks against India from its territory.'

On Sri Lanka, President Patil said, 'We will support initiatives in Sri Lanka, which can lead to a permanent political solution of the conflict there and ensure that all Sri Lankan communities, especially the Tamils, feel secure and enjoy equal rights so that they can lead a life of dignity and self-respect. India will make appropriate contribution to rehabilitate those affected by the conflict.

Touching upon on other SAARC member-nation, the Indian President said, 'In Nepal and Bangladesh, where multi-party democracy has returned, India will work closely with both countries to continue expanding bilateral ties for mutual benefit. Government will strengthen our close and vibrant partnerships with Bhutan and Maldives and continue to assist in the reconstruction of Afghanistan.'

On ties with the US, China and other nations, she said: “The momentum of improvement of our relations with the major powers will be maintained. The transformation of our partnership with the United States of America will be taken forward. Our strategic partnership with Russia has grown over the years, and we will seek to further consolidate it. With countries of Europe and Japan my Government will continue the sustained diplomatic efforts, which have produced qualitative changes in our relations since 2004. The multi-faceted partnership with China will be expanded"

About West Asia, President Patil said 'My Government will continue to work with other developing nations. It will contribute to all efforts at peace in West Asia through the establishment of a viable Palestinian State at the earliest. The traditionally close ties with countries in the Gulf will be strengthened.'

'The process of engagement with Africa reenergized with the first Indo-Africa Summit organized by my Government will be further expanded. The multi-dimensional partnerships with countries in South-East Asia and the Pacific as well as Central Asia and the Latin American region will be consolidated', she added in her long address.

-Asian Tribune -

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