To mark the 63rd Independence day for India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hoisted the Tricolour at the Red Fort, in Delhi on an overcast Saturday morning. He delivered his fifth Independence -Day speech as Prime Minister, through which he offered hope to the sagging economy, severe drought conditions and the H1N1.
Making a pitch for reform of global bodies, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday sought peaceful relations with India’s neighbours but made no reference to Pakistan in his first Independence Day speech after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
“The international economic and political order is changing. Questions are being raised on the functioning and continued effectiveness of the multilateral institutions established in the 20th century,” Manmohan Singh said.
“Our foreign policy should be able to cater to India’s interests in these constantly changing circumstances. I am happy that we have been successful in doing this to a large extent,” he said.
The prime minister referred to the Mumbai attacks in his speech but there was neither any reference to Pakistan nor any oblique message about cross-border terrorism.
Instead, he spoke about India’s desire to live in peace and harmony and create an environment conducive for the development of South Asia. “As far our neighbours are concerned, we want to live with them in peace and harmony,” he said.
“We will make every possible effort to create an environment conducive to the social and economic development of the whole of South Asia.”
He also avoided talking about Pakistan while discussing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, whose ownership is disputed by Islamabad.
Pointing to India’s good relations with major global players like the US, Russia, China, Japan and Europe, Manmohan Singh spoke about India’s growing relationship with regions like Africa, West Asia and Latin America.
The prime minister emphasised greater international cooperation in addressing global challenges like the economic crisis, terrorism and climate change, saying: “…what happens in one part of the world has an effect on other parts also.”
Referring to climate change, Manmohan Singh underlined the growing importance of this complex issue in India’s foreign policy discourse.
“Climate change has become an issue of global concern in recent years. If we don’t take the necessary steps in time, our glaciers will melt and our rivers will go dry,” he warned.
“India wishes to tackle the problem of climate change in partnership with other countries of the world,” he said while alluding to the government’s decision to constitute eight national missions to address the issue.