India’s voice today matters like never before: Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the foreign policy of his government has been about “unprecedented outreach with unparalleled outcomes” and “India’s voice now matters like it hasn’t before”.

In an interview to “Swarajya” magazine, Modi said there have been substantial gains in foreign policy in the last four years in areas such as trade, technology, skills training and the fight against terrorism.

He said India had engaged with the world “to make our world a better place for our future generations”.

“The foreign policy of the NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government has been about unprecedented outreach with unparalleled outcomes.”

Modi said that during his visits abroad, he had sensed that India was seen as a bright spot in the world.

He said increased interest in India was also evident from the rise in the arrival of foreign tourists.

India registered over 10 million foreign tourist arrivals for the first time in 2017, which is about 33 per cent higher than 2014, and “a record high in its own right”, Modi said.

He said the cumulative FDI equity inflows into India stood at about $222 billion in May 2014 and this grew to $368 billion — a rise of over 65 per cent — by the end of 2017.

“From ‘Make in India’ to ‘Smart Cities’, from ‘Clean Ganga’ to ‘Clean India’, and from ‘Digital India’ to ‘Start-up India’, we have forged unprecedented partnerships across the world.”

He said India has picked up several best practices in critical areas such as technology, skill development and agriculture and several countries were partnering with cities across India and helping them to become Smart Cities.

Referring to India gaining membership of Missile Technology Control Regime, Australia Group and Wassenaar Arrangement, he said these were organisations of great importance.

“You can also see the kind of attention world pays to India’s views. India’s proposal at the UN to declare June 21 as International Day of Yoga received unanimous approval in a record time. The proposal to create an International Solar Alliance has become a reality through a new global treaty-based organisation.”

He said India’s push to combat black money and terrorism had found tremendous resonance in G-20.

“We have also succeeded in becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. From BRICS to Commonwealth to East Asia Summit, India’s voice now matters like it hasn’t before.”

Referring to his informal summits with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier this year, Modi said these added great strength to India’s friendship with Beijing and Moscow.

Modi said development cooperation projects have not been delayed waiting for any VVIP visits. “I have myself used video conferencing to inaugurate projects, to lay foundation stones, and sometimes even just to address audiences abroad.”

Referring to return of artefacts to India, he said the US returned 200 historic artefacts at a special ceremony in 2016.

The Prime Minister said during one of her visits to India, German Chancellor Angela Merkel got back a 10th century Durga idol. Australia has returned valuable artefacts as well.

“Be it trade, technology, skills training, fighting against terrorism, there have been substantial gains for India’s foreign policy in the last four years,” he added.