Sujatha Singh to hold envoys’ conclave today

It is expected to give shape to Modi’s initiative to reach out to India’s neighbours

June 23, 2014 12:06 am | Updated 12:06 am IST - NEW DELHI:

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to reach out to India’s neighbours, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh has summoned the heads of Indian missions in neighbouring countries for a day-long conclave on Monday.

The conclave, to be presided over by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, is expected to give shape to the Prime Minister’s initiative to reach out to India’s neighbours in the South Asian region — first reflected at his swearing-in ceremony held last month, which witnessed the participation of heads of nations of SAARC countries and Mauritius.

“The meeting, the first of its kind, comes within a month of the PM’s meeting with the leaders of India’s South Asian neighbours and aims to chart out concrete follow-up plans with each neighbour within specified timeline,” official sources said here on Sunday.

A brainchild of Ms. Sujatha Singh, the conclave will see participation of Indian heads of missions from China, Mauritius and Myanmar, besides the SAARC nations — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Indian heads of missions in Iran, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have been “especially invited to discuss the situation in view of the recently held elections in Afghanistan,” sources said.

Ms. Swaraj will chair all sessions of the conclave to “take stock of the current state of play in India’s relations with each neighbours and set down the new government’s priorities and approach,” they said.

The NDA government’s overt emphasis on bolstering ties with the neighbours was at play when Mr. Modi chose Bhutan for his first foreign visit.

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