Peace in border areas is vital to boost India-China bilateral relations (Foreign Minister Harsh Shringla)

Highlighting engagements with neighboring countries in recent years, Foreign Minister Harsh Shringla said on Wednesday that India had made it clear to China that peace and tranquility in the border areas were key elements to boost bilateral relations. between the two countries.

The Foreign Minister made the remarks during the inaugural session of the India Neighborhood Training Module at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie.

“We have made it clear to China that peace and tranquility in the border areas are essential for the development of our relationship,” Foreign Secretary Shringla said.

The Foreign Minister stressed that neighborhood comes first among all India’s foreign policy priorities.

“The Neighborhood First Policy, at the request of the Prime Minister, gives the highest priority to our relations with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka “, said Foreign Minister Shringla, adding that, “It is these countries, with the exception of Pakistan, with which we work most closely.”

Speaking of India’s close cultural and historical ties with its neighbours, Shringla said:

“Our ties with these countries are underpinned by a common history and culture. Policy initiatives taken by India and its neighbors have implications for each other. The ties with neighboring countries have direct relevance to our bordering states of these countries.”

The Foreign Minister also highlighted India’s engagement initiatives with its neighbours, including the invitation to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) during the swearing-in ceremony of the current government in 2019.

On Pakistan, Shringla reiterated India’s longstanding position, saying, “Although we desire good relations with Pakistan, this cannot come at the expense of our security.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs then listed initiatives for engagement with individual countries in our neighborhood emphasizing economic partnership.

“The neighborhood policy first has a strong economic dimension. We share a common geographical space with our neighbours. We share resources and common goods. We share economic challenges. Many of our problems have the same solutions,” said said Shringla.

Addressing the Civil Service interns at the LBSNAA, the Foreign Secretary said: “I would ask you to keep our neighbors in mind when you take on policy-making positions in your future careers. Remember not that national policies can have unintended consequences in the neighbourhood”.

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