Foreign policy vital for India’s trade, economy: Krishna (Interview)

May 29th, 2009 - 5:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh By Fakir Balaji
Bangalore, May 29 (IANS) Indian foreign policy will be pro-active in pursuit of its trade and economic ties with all countries in an interdependent world, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said Friday.

“Diplomacy, trade and economy go together in an interdependent world. As a critical component of governance, the foreign policy is tailored to serve our national interests,” Krishna, 77, told IANS in an exclusive interview at his home in the city’s upscale Sadashivnagar.

On his first visit to the tech hub after assuming office a week ago, Krishna said India had to keep pace with developments across the world, as nothing was static in diplomacy and one had to prepare for any eventuality.

“As one of the fastest developing countries, India has an important role in the geo-politics of the world. We need to respond appropriately, keeping in view our larger interests,” Krishna said.

Hesitant to elaborate on his assessment of the latest developments in South Asia and the rest of the world, Krishna said India would continue to maintain its independent foreign policy regardless of the situation prevailing either in the neighbourhood or elsewhere.

“It is only a week since I have been in this job. Various developments during the last four-five days have kept me occupied to respond accordingly. My views are not different from the stated policy,” Krishna noted.

Reiterating that resumption of composite dialogue with Pakistan depended on its response to India’s persistent demands to dismantle the terror networks and their infrastructure, Krishna said the culprits of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage would also have to be brought to justice for creating a conducive atmosphere for talks.

Asked the significance of his new posting to his home state, Karnataka, and its knowledge economy driven by the burgeoning IT and biotech sectors, the state’s former IT-savvy chief minister said that he, as the foreign minister, would strive to work for all states and sectors of the economy.

Krishna said he was planning to visit Bhutan and Nepal soon on his first overseas trip as external affairs minister.

On India-US bilateral ties, Krishna said it was too early to comment but he was looking forward to the visit of secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India.

Though Krishna had planned to spend the weekend in the city, he said he was going back to New Delhi Friday night as the prime minister had scheduled a cabinet meeting Saturday.

Krishna, however, declined to respond when told that he was the oldest minister in the Manmohan Singh government or that he was the first to hold a high-profile cabinet post from Karnataka. He is a Rajya Sabha member from the state.

A Fulbright scholar in George Washington and Southern Methodist Universities in the US during the 1960s, Krishna was minister of state for finance in the Indira Gandhi government 1980-84. He was also Maharashtra governor from 2005 to 2008.

Krishna is also credited for putting Bangalore on the world IT map by attracting global investors and multinationals to set shop in the state during his tenure as chief minister from mid-1999 to early 2004.

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