The draft foreign policy resolution of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) noted that India has moved away from leading the non-aligned movement. “Beyond the past we want to look to the future,” it noted at the fag end of the 12-page resolution that was issued along with three other resolutions — 125 years of the Indian National Congress, economic and political.
The Indian foreign policy had evolved from “leading from the front” the Third World and movements for emancipation of Asia and Africa. It was now committed to seeking a leadership role for an equitable global order, the resolution said.
With economic growth on a continuously upward trajectory, India was “committed to contributing in terms of capacity as well as delivery” — which it is increasingly doing in the near neighbourhood and Africa.
Congratulating the Government on its “remarkable achievements and deft handling of foreign policy,” the resolution had platitudes for all its vectors — upholding ties with strategic partners, consolidating existing relations and developing new ones.
It dwelt the most on the neighbourhood and Africa, congratulating its government on giving a new vigour to ties with most countries, but omitted Pakistan.
The release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's pro-democracy leader, was welcomed, as well as the cessation of hostilities in Sri Lanka. Sheikh Hasina's election as Bangladesh Prime Minister was seen to have opened a new chapter in New Delhi's ties with Dhaka. The resolution returned much later to Pakistan after mentioning Russia and East Asia, but only in the context of terrorism.
It also touched on some regional groupings like BRIC, IBSA and RIC, as also ties with the European Union.
The civil nuclear energy cooperation with the U.S. was a “major milestone,” it said, and mentioned the “strong endorsement” of India's candidature for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council during the visits by U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The resolution also made extensive mention of India's attempts to democratise the world financial architecture and the global trading regime.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech was less self-laudatory, although three paragraphs were devoted to foreign policy. He began by pointing out that the country was now looked upon with “respect and admiration,” and that India had become “even more important” on the world stage. But he felt India's engagement was a work in progress with most countries.
Dr. Singh admitted to a tense relationship with Pakistan, saying that India wished it well and wanted friendly ties. But this would be possible only when Pakistan ensured that its territory was not used for terrorist activities against India, he said.