- Like all important programs of the government, ‘Neighborhood Pratham’ initiative is a significant effort: Shringla
- Shringla said, ‘Neighborhood First’ is at the top of all the foreign policy priorities of India.
- The Foreign Secretary said that our aim is to improve the quality of life of the people.
New Delhi: Terming ‘neighbourhood first’ as the top priority of India’s foreign policy, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Wednesday that “we aspire to have good relations with Pakistan but it cannot be at the cost of our security”. Addressing the inaugural session of the training project on ‘India’s Neighborhood’ at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Shringla said, ‘Neighbourhood Pratham’ initiative is a significant effort like all important programs of the government. ‘Neighborhood First’ is at the top of all India’s foreign policy priorities.
Shringla said that on the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Neighborhood First Policy has given top priority to our relations with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. He said that in these countries all sides are working very closely with the exception of Pakistan. “We want to have good relations with Pakistan but this cannot happen at the cost of our security,” Shringla said.
Regarding relations with China, the Foreign Secretary said that India has made it clear to China that peace and stability in the border areas is essential for the development of relations between the two countries. “The development of India-China relations should be based on three common things, mutual respect, common sensitivity and mutual interest,” he said. The Foreign Secretary said that ‘Neighborhood First’ as a policy needs to be proactive in strengthening cooperation based on capacity building of neighbors and implementation of projects.
Shringla said that wherever possible, we should find ways to take forward and integrate national development plans without the concerns of our allies and infringing on the sovereignty. At the same time, geopolitical realities and real threats such as cross-border terrorism and crime have to be countered, the Foreign Secretary said. “We will deal with them firmly,” he said. For this we will continue to enhance our capabilities.
The Foreign Secretary said that the country will form alliances and networks through multi-level and multi-faceted cooperation in forums like United Nations, Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to deal with security challenges and through BIMSTEC, IORA etc. Will come closer. Referring to India’s special relations with the friendly people of Afghanistan, Shringla said that in view of the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, India has decided to gift 50 thousand metric tonnes of wheat to the people there and its first consignment will be sent. It’s over
Shringla also mentioned the supply of anti-Covid-19 vaccines, life saving drugs and winter clothing to Afghanistan. Referring to Myanmar, he said, “We are connected with Myanmar with which we have a 1700 km long border. In our contacts, we are emphasizing the early restoration of democracy in Myanmar in the interest of India. India’s Growth in the Neighborhood The tie-up invests in expanding the skills and capabilities of its neighbors. We support the creation of institutions. Our aim is to improve the quality of life of the people.
The Foreign Secretary said that India’s line of credit to neighbors has increased from $3.27 billion in 2014 to $14.7 billion in 2020. The Foreign Secretary said that what sets India-backed projects in the neighborhood apart from others is their people-centric nature. He said that hospitals should be built in Sri Lanka, Maldives, Nepal and Afghanistan, ambulance project in Sri Lanka, higher educational institutions in Myanmar, construction of thousands of houses after tsunami in Sri Lanka and earthquake in Nepal, High Court building in Mauritius. is included.