Focus on enhancing ties with Saarc nations

New Delhi, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2005, 05:30am hrs
Focusing on enhancing its relations with its neighbours and strengthening Saarc, the government said it was its earnest desire to create a neighbourhood of shared prosperity and peace with Pakistan and other countries of the region.

While outlining key aspects of Indias foreign policy at the joint session of Parliament, President APJ Abdul Kalam said that India greatly valued its ties with major economic partners like the US and Russia while seeking to accelerate its dialogue and engagement with China.

Expressing grave concern over declaration of emergency and arrest of political leaders in Nepal, he said the problems faced by the Himalayan Kingdom could only be addressed by a constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy working together harmomiously on the basis of national consensus.

The President said, The process of normalisation of Indo-Pak relations is critically dependent on Pakistan fulfilling its assurance that it would end its support to terrorist activities.

He described Indias ties with Bhutan as specially close and said it has had the privilege of a special and warm relationship with Bangladesh.

The Look East Policy had substantially strengthened the countrys linkages with Japan, the member countries of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and the Republic of Korea, he said.

While noting that Indias reltionship with Asean had taken on new dimensions, Dr Kalam said, We expect the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister of Japan to be significant event in our bilateral ties.

He referred to Indias effective presence at the Asean summit in November 2004 and the success of the first Bimstec summit in July last year, which helped forge closer links with eastern neighbours.