Addressing the joint sitting of Parliament, President Mukherjee highlighted the new government’s pragmatic approach towards building the bilateral relations with foreign countries including US and the SAARC members.

Underlining the government’s approach towards building the country’s progressive foreign policy keeping its civilization roots and heritage in mind, the President said, “India’s foreign policy is based on the principles of developing peaceful and friendly relations with all countries. We will pursue our international engagement based on enlightened national interest, combining the strength of our values with pragmatism, leading to a doctrine of mutually beneficial relationships.”

“My government is committed to building a strong, self-reliant and self-confident India; regaining its rightful place in the comity of nations,” he added.

Highlighting the flourishing relation between New Delhi and Washington, the President said the Indian government has made significant progress in developing strategic partnership with US over the years.

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“The government will bring a renewed vigour to our engagement and intensify it in all areas including trade, investment, science and technology, energy and education. India also values its broad-based cooperation with Europe. The government will make concerted efforts to achieve progress in key areas with the European Union as well as its leading members,” he added.

US President Barack Obama had last week sent invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit US. According to sources, he has accepted the invitation and is likely to visit the country in September this year.

President Pranab Mukherjee taking salute of his guards before his ceremonial procession to address the joint session of Parliament in New Delhi

Government determined to build ties with SAARC nations: President

Making special mention of Modi’s initiative to invite heads of state of SAARC nations for the swearing-in ceremony, President Mukherjee said, “My government sent a unique and bold signal to the South Asian region and the world by inviting for the first time in independent India leaders of all South Asian neighbours for the event. This shows my government’s commitment and determination to work towards building a peaceful, stable and economically inter-linked neighbourhood which is essential for the collective development and prosperity of the region.”

The President also thanked the SAARC nations for accepting India’s invitation and attending the swearing-in event on a short notice.

“We are grateful to them for accepting the invitation at such a short notice. Their participation, as also the gracious presence of the

Prime Minister of Mauritius, not only added sheen to the ceremony but also represented a celebration of democracy in the region and convergence of our shared hopes and aspirations,” he said.

Pranab Mukherjee (C) arrives along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi (on his L) and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan (wearing sari), to address the joint session of the Parliament in New Delhi

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The President said India is committed towards working together with South Asian leaders in order to revitalize SAARC as an effective instrument for regional cooperation and as a united voice on global issues.

The President told the Parliament that the government will never shy away from raising issues of concern at a bilateral level.

“We emphasize that the future of shared prosperity can only be built on the foundation of stability in the region, which requires sensitivity to security concerns and an end to export of terrorism to neighbours,” he said.

President Mukherjee also expressed commitment towards boosting relations with neighbouring nations including China, Japan and Russia by engaging with them energetically.

President Pranab mukherjee with Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan during their meeting at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi

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He said the government will strive to make progress in several initiatives that are ongoing with Japan especially in the field of building modern infrastructure in India.

The government is working with China to further develop Strategic and Cooperative Partnership, he said.

Making special mention about Russia, President Mukherjee said, “The country remains our privileged and strategic partner and the Indian government is committed towards building the firm foundations of this relationship.”

President Pranab Mukherjee (R) arrives with Prime Minster Narendra Modi (2nd L) to address the joint session of Parliament


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