Indian envoys’ meet ends with focus on dealing with Pakistan

December 24th, 2008 - 9:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Dec 24 (IANS) With Pakistan in denial mode about the Mumbai terrorist attacks, the first conclave of 116 Indian envoys ended here Wednesday with a broad outline for intensifying international pressure on Pakistan to act against terrorism and to create a larger global profile for India in days to come. The three-day conclave was planned months before the Nov 26 Mumbai attacks and was aimed at evolving India’s positions on leading global challenges like climate change, multilateral trade talks and the country’s re-entry into the global nuclear fold, commensurate with its growing global profile.

However, with the Mumbai attacks forming the backdrop, the conference ended up focusing pre-dominantly on firming up a diplomatic response to Pakistan’s constant flip-flops and diversionary tactics that New Delhi feels have been designed to deflect attention from the complicity of the Pakistan-based elements in the carnage.

“It wasn’t just Pakistan and the Mumbai attacks that were discussed. All important foreign policy issues, including housekeeping and expansion of the ministry, figured in discussions,” an Indian envoy, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.

It was also an occasion for camaraderie and nostalgia for diplomats who have not seen their batch-mates and colleagues for years. The ministry plans to make such a conclave a regular feature in days to come, a source said.

The conference began Monday with an address by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee outlining a broad vision of India’s foreign policy priorities in the 21st century and its neighbourhood policy that he stressed resulted in positive outcomes except for Pakistan.

In his speech, the minister also provided an outline of the political leadership’s thinking on its strategy of dealing with Pakistan in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also addressed the meeting Tuesday and asked Pakistan to “dismantle the terror machine”. He underlined that the Nov 26 Mumbai terrorist strike was an “attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power”.

“The Mumbai terrorist attacks were an attack on India’s ambitions to emerge as an economic power,” Manmohan Singh told the 116 Indian heads of missions.

“India will not accept a situation where terrorism is used as an instrument to cripple its economy or the values it stands for,” the prime minister stressed.

Seeking to place development at the centre of India’s foreign policy, the prime minister said that the biggest challenges faced by the country included the removal of poverty, disease and ignorance.

“The removal of poverty and emancipation of our people should be given the pride of place in India’s foreign policy,” he said.

“India’s diplomatic efforts should be geared to removing obstacles which stand in the way of achieving these objectives,” he said while highlighting the issues of food security, the management of water resources, energy security and overcoming technology denial regimes.

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