Expanding economy key to India becoming leading power: Jaishankar

New Delhi, April 6 (IANS) Expanding the economy is the key to India becoming a leading global power, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said on Wednesday.

“India’s quest for becoming a leading power depends on expanding our economy,” Jaishankar said while delivering the keynote speech at the launch of Carnegie India, the sixth international centre of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In this context, he said hand-holding investors was part of the government’s daily foreign policy activities.

New Delhi is the sixth international centre of the Carnegie Endowment after Washington, Moscow, Beijing, Beirut and Brussels.

Jaishankar said “neighbourhood first” was the phrase most heard in India’s foreign policy.

“With our neighbours, we have to sharply raise the levels of connectivity,” he said.

He further observed that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) mechanism has become more important after the last summit of the regional bloc in Kathmandu in 2014.

The foreign secretary said India was ready to deal with the incoming government in Myanmar.

According to Jaishankar, India’s neighbourhood policy now extended to the Gulf to the west and the Malacca Straits to the east.

Highlighting the thrust that the new government at the Centre was giving to foreign policy, he said there have been ministerial visits from India to around 130 countries.

With the US, he said, relations have deepened across the board while energy cooperation was one of the cornerstones of the ties with Russia.

With Japan, India’s ties have reached new vistas, the foreign secretary said.

“We have reached out to Africa and Latin America at the highest levels,” he said.

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