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India no longer mute spectator, it sets global agenda: Sushma Swaraj

Sushma-Swaraj

New Delhi: The Modi government has brought a “paradigm shift” in foreign policy and today when India speaks the “world listens”, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Saturday.

She also said the Indian diaspora now feels a sense of “belongingness”.

“India today sets the global agenda as opposed to before when it used to be a mute spectator on global issues. Today, when India speaks the world listens,” she said.

She said when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the diaspora, people back home feel proud that ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’ are being chanted in a foreign land.

Ms Swaraj said reaching out to Indians in distress abroad was “never a priority” for the External Affairs Ministry before. The Prime Minister had said the ministry was all about having “fancy dinners in suit and boot” earlier, she said.

“Today, Indians in distress abroad feel the government back home cares for them. This has raised their courage. This is another paradigm shift. PM has himself said that this ministry was about having fancy dinners wearing suit and boot. But today our embassies remain on toes,” Ms Swaraj said.

Perhaps people will now understand why “Sushma Swaraj responds 24X7 to Indians in distress abroad”, she said, in a reference to her active outreach to people through the social media.

India’s inter-faith practices and resistance to radicalisation has a message for the world, she said.

Ms Swaraj was speaking at the launch of the book ‘The Modi Doctrine: New Paradigms in India’s Foreign Policy’ brought out by Delhi-based Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation. Britain’s Indian-origin Minister for International Development Priti Patel was also present.

Later, the two had a brief chat on the sidelines. The Modi government’s “neighbourhood-first” policy has faced challenges from cross-border terrorism but sincerity of its efforts are gaining “broader support”, Ms Swaraj said.

The foreign minister identified the “tight meshing” of domestic and diplomatic goals as one of the “hallmarks of the Modi Doctrine”, which she said had managed to arrest the “sense of drift” in policy.

“The very first diplomatic move made by the government was on its inauguration day by inviting leaders of neighbouring nations to join us on the occasion.

“Naturally, the pursuit of these objectives has not been without its challenges, among them cross-border terrorism. But the wisdom of our approach and the sincerity of our efforts are clearly gaining broader support,” she said.

PTI

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