Chennai, Oct 18 IANS | 11 months ago

Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi Friday said India's foreign policy should be built on the foundation of our culture, tradition, strength, economy, trade, strategy and security.


Delivering the Nani Palkhivala memorial lecture here on "India and the World", Modi stressed that the foreign policy should be drawn up with inputs from states and wondered why not give each Indian state one foreign country to develop better relationship with.

He said India's freedom struggle was not just about getting independence from British rule but a global anti-colonial movement and these principles should shape up our foreign policy.

Paying glowing tributes to Palkhivala, Modi said the late lawyer as India's ambassador to the US was able to generate respect for India.

According to Modi, the other aspects of India's foreign policy should be based on security and strategy which Atal Bihari Vajpayee showed when he was the prime minister.

Recalling the nuclear tests carried out by India during the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime under Vajpayee, Modi said these were followed by international economic sanctions.

Many nations would have been scared of such sanctions. But Vajpayee's political will enabled the country carry out another test two days later showing the way of "shanti" (peace) and "shakti" (power), Modi said.

"It shows the leadership quality, political will and the commitment to security. Atalji even convinced Japan which is very sensitive when it comes to nuclear explosions," Modi added.

According to him, Vajpayee could do that because he had the nation's confidence and the people's trust.

Despite the sanctions, the economy or the rupee did not suffer.

"Today, rupee is in ICU (intensive care unit). I do not know why Tamil people sent people like him to Delhi," Modi obliquely referred to Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, without naming him.

Referring to the terror attacks that India suffered, Modi said Vajpayee made terrorism a global issue and the world was divided into two -- countries that were anti-terrorism and nations that supported terrorism.

"Terrorism divides while tourism unites people," Modi said to audience applause.

According to Modi, the country should focus on growing the tourism sector as India is nowhere in the USD3-trillion global tourism market.

Coming down heavily on the United Progressive Alliance's foreign policy, Modi said the government is satisfied with issuing press notes even when China carries out incursions into the country and Pakistan beheads Indian soldiers.

Arguing the country's foreign policy should be driven by people in the country and not by few who sit in Delhi, Modi said the culture and economy of different states could be leveraged for a global position.

He also demanded holding of international conferences in different states than in Delhi while will result in improvement of infrastructure and even the outlook of government servants in the states.

The BJP leader said people of Indian origin are present in several countries and they have to be engaged effectively and taken care of when in trouble like the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

"The colour of their passport might have changed but the colour of their blood remains the same," Modi said.

This is the second time Modi is visiting Tamil Nadu in less than a month. Modi Sep 26 addressed a party rally in Tiruchirapalli, around 350 km from here.

Earlier, speaking to party workers after his arrival here, Modi said: "There is a cyclone of change going on in the country ... this stopped cyclone Phailin which could have caused great damage."

Targeting the central government, he said instead of hunting for gold in Unnao, it should bring back the black money stashed in foreign banks.

Noting people of Tamil Nadu wanted a change in Delhi, he said their dreams would be fulfilled if the BJP came to power.

Friday, the Madras High Court dismissed a petition filed by Tamil Nadu Makkal Katchi to ban Modi from speaking at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium.

Some students also staged protest against Modi's Chennai visit.

Security was tightened for Modi's visit and police verified the antecedents of those who registered themselves with the Palkhivala Foundation to listen to his talk.

(Posted on 19-10-2013)