New Delhi, June 23 IANS | 1 month ago

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Monday chaired a meeting of India's envoys in neighbouring countries to discuss economic diplomacy and other issues in a sign of the new BJP-led government' intention to keeping up momentum of outreach to SAARC leaders.


External affairs Ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said the meeting discussed ways in which envoys could assist in strengthening the process of country's development.

"The meeting is geared towards maintaining the momentum that was set in motion of giving priority to our neighbours by the prime minister (Narendra Modi) when he invited them to his swearing-in ceremony. The prime minister has made it clear the overriding priority for India is to scale and speed our comprehensive national development," he said.

Asked about the presence of Indian envoys from central Asian countries and if it was related to issues concerning energy security, Akbaruddin said economic diplomacy was an important aspect of the country's foreign policy

"When we invite ambassadors, they discuss a variety to issues including development partnership and economic diplomacy which is an important aspect of our foreign policy," he said.

Sources said that the first-of-its-kind meeting was attended by Indian envoys in SAARC countries and some other countries in the neighbourhood and central Asia.

They said that meeting also discussed the possible implications of withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan.

The Modi government has given a thrust to boost India's relations in the neigbhourhood. While top leaders from SAARC countries came to attend his swearing in, Modi chose Bhutan as his first overseas destination.

The sources said that during the meeting, Sushma Swaraj took stock of the present state of India's relations with the neighbouring countries and outlined priorities of the new government.

(Posted on 23-06-2014)