PM underlines India’s ‘good ties’ with Arab world

July 22nd, 2008 - 11:16 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday underlined India’s commitment to pursuing an independent foreign policy and stressed the country’s “historical and civilisational links” with the Arab world - home to over 4.5 million-strong Indian diaspora. “I should also inform the House that our relations with the Arab world are very good. Two years ago, His Majesty, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was the Chief Guest at our Republic Day,” the prime minister said in his reply to the two-day trust vote debate in parliament.

“More recently, we have played host to the president of Iran, president of Syria, the king of Jordan, the emir of Qatar and the emir of Kuwait,” he said.

“With all these countries we have historic civilisational and cultural links which we are keen to further develop to our mutual benefit,” he said while stressing that there was nothing in the India-US nuclear deal which will prevent it from pursuing an independent foreign policy.

He was rebutting critics’ charges that his government has neglected relations with the Arab world and important countries like Iran for the sake of stronger strategic ties with India.

It was also an attempt to answer some political parties who had tried to give a Muslim angle to the nuclear deal saying such an agreement was ranged against the interests of the Muslims by drawing India closer to the US.

“Today, we have strategic relationship with all major powers including USA, Russia, France, UK, Germany, Japan, China, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa. We are forging new partnerships with countries of East Asia, South East Asia and Africa,” he added.

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