New Delhi: Foreign policy and diplomacy are the key factors that could lead India on the path of progress, prosperity and security, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
"As global inter-dependence and integration deepen, as the centre of gravity of global challenges and opportunities shifts to our region, and as India engages more with the world, foreign policy and diplomacy will remain key factors in our progress, prosperity and our security," the prime minister said.
He was speaking at the SK Singh Award for excellence, professionalism and innovation in the foreign service for the year 2011. The prestigious award was conferred on senior IFS officer Tanmaya Lal.
"India is in transition in a fast-changing world. The external and internal environment that our nation faces has changed beyond recognition since the Indian Foreign Service was set up. Yet, our engagement with the world continues to be driven by the enduring objectives of creating an enabling environment for our national development goals; ensuring the security of the nation; and fulfilling our international responsibilities," he said.
Diplomats have a very important role for fostering a climate for peace, stability and security as well as for the development of India's economy.
"Diplomats must lead our efforts for fostering a climate for peace, stability and security for our country, and in safeguarding our interests in international negotiations of far-reaching consequences in an increasingly inter-dependent world that we live in," he added.
Equally, they have to play a crucial role in our economic development, advancing our energy and food security, and helping our country to catch the next wave of science, technology, innovation and education, he added.
Further, as Indian expatriates, investments and trade grow globally in numbers and significance, promoting and protecting their interests and welfare have become an integral part of our diplomacy.
He said that it is important to enhance diplomatic focus on key geographical areas such as South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia, South-East and East Asia as well as Africa.
The prime minister said they may not be the easiest places to work in, but are becoming increasingly important to India's future security and prosperity and thus require increased and intensive engagement.
But, he also said that the diplomats need to supplement their craft of diplomacy with "constant intellectual renewal to deal with a complex and fast-changing world".
"They should master the revolution taking place in the world of information and communication. Above all, they should continue to be guided by the fundamental spirit of service to our country and to our people," he added.