Secularism guides our foreign policy: PM

FrontPrime Minister Manmohan Singh with External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid at a conclave of the Indian Ambassadors and High Commissioners, in New Delhi on Monday. PTI

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Monday "secularism" was one of the values that defined the foreign policy of India. He was addressing the annual conference of Indian envoys in the Capital.

Manmohan, who spelt out the "five principles" of his foreign policy doctrine, said, "Foreign policy is not defined merely by our interests, but also by the values which are very dear to our people. India's experiment of pursuing economic development within the framework of a plural, secular and liberal democracy has inspired people around the world." He listed this as one of the five principles that have come to define India's foreign policy being practised by the UPA government for almost a decade now.

Elaborating on the remaining four principles, the Prime Minister said, "First, recognition that India's relations with the world are increasingly shaped by our developmental priorities. The single most important objective of Indian foreign policy has to be to create a global environment conducive to the well-being of our great country."

Second, he said, that "greater integration with the world economy will benefit India and enable our people to realise their creative potential". Third, the PM said, "We seek stable, long-term and mutually beneficial relations with all major powers. We are prepared to work with the international community to create a global economic and security environment beneficial to all nations."

And the fourth, he said, "We recognise that the Indian sub-continent's shared destiny requires greater regional cooperation and connectivity. Towards this end, we must strengthen regional institutional capability and capacity and invest in connectivity."

"As you go about discharging your day-to-day responsibilities, please ask yourselves how these five principles are guiding your work," he said.

Singh also said that the "great leaders of our freedom struggle instinctively saw the intrinsic link between our foreign policy and the economic aspirations of our people. A free India had to be also a prosperous India. This has been the central vision of our foreign policy and must continue to remain so. Therefore, the foreign policy we pursue must reflect our national priorities and concerns and be in concert with our capabilities."

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