Sunday, 22 February 2009
Press Statement By Shri Yashwant Sinha MP and former External Affairs Minister
New Delhi – 23 February 2009
Consultation with experts UPA’s foreign policy an abject failure
L.K. Advani: “NDA will pursue a muscular foreign policy, aimed at preserving India’s autonomy, securing our national interests in the neighbourhood, and promoting its strategic interests in the emerging new world”
Shri L.K. Advani, prime ministerial candidate of the BJP and NDA, today held an interaction at his residence with foreign policy experts on the challenges and opportunities before India in the emerging new international order. The experts’ consensus was that the UPA Government’s foreign policy in the past five years has been an abject failure.
If I were to sum up the opinion expressed by the participants, it would be as follows::
• India’s autonomy in the conduct of foreign policy has been seriously undermined.
• Although India should continue to have close and multi-dimensional friendship with the United States, the UPA Government ignored the fundamental truth that the US foreign policy is guided primarily by its own national interests and that India must do what is in India’s national interest. The abandonment of autonomy was most evident in two issues: handling the menace of Pak-sponsored terrorism and the Indo-US nuclear deal.
• The UPA Government has been derelict in its duty by neglecting India’s vital internal security interests, as is evident in the manner in which it turned a blind eye to illegal immigration from Bangladesh and to the Maoist insurgency in Nepal.
• The UPA Government’s neighbourhood policy has been a disaster. Under its rule, our neighbourhood turned more unfriendly towards India than at any time in the past sixty years, Nepal and Sri Lanka being the most striking examples.
• Under UPA’s rule, India’s relations with a traditional ally like Russia were downgraded, as a result of which they considerably lost their warmth and closeness. Indeed, the quality of India’s relations with all the major allies has suffered due to a lack of focus and commitment.
• The momentum and vigour that the Vajpayee government had introduced in India’s relations with Iran and countries in Central Asia and also in its Look East Policy have disappeared.
• The UPA Government failed to engage countries in Africa and Latin America, thereby impairing the strength of India’s global diplomacy and also the opportunities in economic diplomacy.
• The current crisis in the global economy presents major challenges and opportunities before India. The UPA Government has left India unprepared in this vital area. There is an urgent need for India to engage the international community for restructuring of the global financial institutions for stable, equitable and sustainable growth of the world economy.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Advani said, “This meeting is a continuation of the series of interactions I have had in recent months with captains of industry and business, kisan leaders, representatives of the security and strategic affairs community, eminent economists and experts in social sector development. Almost all of them had opined that the UPA Government has been a failure in their respective areas. This opinion has been endorsed again by experts in foreign policy.”
Shri Advani added, “In our campaign for the forthcoming parliamentary elections, we will highlight the UPA’s failures, among other things, in foreign policy. At the same time, we will assure the people that, if the NDA gets their mandate, our government will pursue a muscular and farsighted foreign policy aimed at preserving India’s autonomy, securing our national interests in the neighbourhood, and promoting our strategic interests in the emerging new world.”
The BJP was represented at the meeting also by Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, MP and BJP spokesman; Shri N.N. Jha, India’s former ambassador in Sri Lanka; and Shri Vijay Kapoor, former Lt. Governor of Delhi.