Reshaping of relations depends on Pakistan’s sincerity: PatilJune 4th, 2009 - 1:54 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) President Pratibha Patil Thursday said the reshaping of relations with Pakistan would depend on its “sincerity” in preventing terrorist groups from launching attacks against India.
“My government will seek to reshape our relationship with Pakistan depending on the sincerity of Pakistan to confront groups who launch terrorist attacks against India from its territory,” Patil said in her address to the joint session of parliament.
The India-Pakistan peace process has been frozen in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage that New Delhi blames on elements operating from across the border. On Tuesday, a Pakistani court released terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, who India says masterminded the Mumbai attacks that claimed over 170 lives, including those of 26 foreigners.
Patil said India’s foreign policy will pursue the country’s “enlightened national interest”, maintaining its strategic autonomy and independent decision-making.
Stating that working with neighbours will be accorded the “highest priority”, the president said the government will “sincerely work with our neighbours to ensure that outstanding issues are addressed and the full potential of our region is realized”.
On the other neighbours in South Asia, Patil 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.”
Referring to Afghanistan, she said that India will continue its assistance for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country.
Smaller South Asian neighbours Bhutan and the Maldives will also get attention to “strengthen our close and vibrant partnerships”.
The momentum to improve relations with major powers will be maintained. “The transformation of our partnership will be taken forward,” Patil said.
She said the strategic partnership with Russia will be consolidated, sustained diplomatic efforts with Europe and Japan would be continued and the “multi-facted partnership” with China would be expanded.
Reiterating the government’s position, Patil said that India will “contribute to all efforts at peace in West Asia through the establishment of a viable Palestinian state at the earliest”.
She also said that the traditionally close ties with Gulf nations will be strengthened.
“The process of engagement with Africa, re-energized with the first Indo-Africa summit organised by my government, will be further expanded,” she said.
Besides, Patil said, relations with the nations of South East Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Latin America will be consolidated.
On the 25 million-strong Indian diaspora, Patil said that government will deepen its engagement with them.
“Our ties and kinship with the diaspora make us acutely conscious of their well-being and to be sensitive to their concerns,” she said.
India, Patil assured, will as a responsible member of international community and work with other countries in tackling global issues like terrorism, the economic crisis, climate change, energy security and reform of multilateral institutions to reflect contemporary realities.
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