India seeks meaningful dialogue with Pakistan: Patil (Lead)

February 21st, 2011 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) India Monday stressed that it will pursue a foreign policy which will ensure that its voice is heard in global fora and made it clear that it will seek “a peaceful resolution of issues through a meaningful dialogue” with Pakistan as long as it sticks to its anti-terror pledge. Outlining the Manmohan Singh government’s key priorities for 2011-12, President Pratibha Patil said New Delhi will “pursue a foreign policy which will ensure that our voice is heard and our interests are protected in global fora”.

“My government’s foreign policy priority remains the promotion and creation of an environment that is conducive to the socio-economic transformation of India,” Patil told a joint sitting of parliament.

“The pursuit of peace, shared prosperity and regional cooperation within the Indian sub-continent and in our extended neighbourbood will continue to guide my government’s efforts,” she said while alluding to high-level visits by the leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka to India during the past year.

Days after India announced its decision to resume a dialogue with Pakistan on all issues, Patil reminded Islamabad of its anti-terror pledge. “With Pakistan we seek a peaceful resolution of issues through a meaningful dialogue so long as Pakistan does not allow its soil to be used for terrorist activities against India,” she said.

“We will continue to work for the return of stability and peace in Afghanistan and to help the Afghan people’s reconstruction efforts,” she said.

Alluding to to the ongoing protests for democracy in Egypt and in the rest of the Arab world, the president welcomed the dawn of democracy in the North African country.

“We have an abiding interest in peace, stability and development of countries in our extended neighbourhood,” she said.

“Egypt has recently seen momentous developments. As a democracy ourselves, we welcome the dawn of democracy elsewhere,” she said.

Referring to India’s improving relations with all the major powers in the world, Patil also announced that the second India-Africa Forum summit will be held in Ethiopia later this year.

“As a member of the United Nations Security Council for a two-year term starting in January this year my government will advance the cause of peace, development and security, and uphold the values of multilateralism,” she said.

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