Talks with Pak only in terror-free environment: PM

Talks with Pak only in terror-free environment: PM

In its 'Report to People', the UPA government said it remains committed to a bilateral dialogue with Pakistan in an environment free of terrorism and violence and on the basis of Pakistan's solemn commitment that it will not allow territory under its control to be used for fomenting terrorism against India.

Speaking to journalists, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said relationship with Pakistan was improving but cautioned it was prone to accidents.

"Our relations with Pakistan are improving. Recently there have been Home Secretary-level talks and other talks. It is a hopeful beginning. But I can't say, it is prone to accidents," he said.

The report said in the topic 'Building Bridges': "The process of re-engagement with Pakistan through a comprehensive dialogue covering all outstanding issues has commenced."

India had put on hold the Composite Dialogue process in the wake of the 26/11 attacks, but resumed talks with Pakistan last year.

The report said India firmly believes in developing a mutually beneficial relationship with its neighbours.

"We have demonstrated that wherever required, we will go beyond traditional norms of reciprocity and extend asymmetrical benefits in the interest of providing a strong impetus to bilateral and regional linkages," it said.

On ties with Bangladesh, it said significant progress has been made in implementing the decisions taken during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in January 2010.

These include a line of credit of USD 1 billion to Bangladesh for development of infrastructure in and for a number of projects that will improve connectivity for our North-Eastern states and create strong economic linkages with Bangladesh.

On China, it said the relations with the Communist nation continue to remain a priority in India's foreign policy.

The visit to China by President Pratibha Patil in May, 2010, followed by the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao to India in December, 2010 were in addition to several other substantive interactions on the sidelines of major regional and multilateral events, the report noted.

The two sides held discussions under the extensive dialogue architecture that provides a platform to exchange views on the entire range of bilateral issues.

"During 2010, a number of cultural and business events were held through the year, including a Festival of China in India and a Festival of India in China to mark the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries," the report noted.

It said India is assisting Nepal to develop its infrastructure in the border areas adjoining India through the development of integrated check posts, cross-border rail links and feeder and lateral roads in the Terai area of Nepal.

The report said India's positive contribution to the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan has been appreciated by the government and people of Afghanistan, as well as by the international community.

On Sri Lanka, the report said India has contributed substantially to the resettlement of the internally displaced persons and the reconstruction of Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka.

India announced an initiative to build 50,000 houses in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. We have also continued our assistance programme to the Indian Origin Tamils in the up-country areas. The opening of two new Indian consulates in Jaffna and Hambantota in 2010 has imparted further momentum to our ties, the report said.

It said India and Myanmar agreed to further broaden their multi-dimensional relationship, including in the areas of security, trade and economic engagement, connectivity, infrastructure development, oil and natural gas, railways.

It said the Government continued with its 'Look East' policy to further improve and consolidate its relations with countries in Southeast Asia.

The intensity of India's high-level political engagement with Russia was marked by the visits of both the President and Prime Minister of Russia to India during 2010.

The India-US global strategic partnership was revitalised in several areas of mutual interest with the visit of President Obama in November, 2010.

Noting that Gulf and West Asia remains an area of strategic importance for India, with the presence of more than 5 million Indian nationals, the report said India's relations with the region further strengthened with continued exchanges in diverse areas at various levels.

The year 2010 saw considerable progress in implementation of flagship projects in SAARC like the South Asian University (SAU) and the SAARC Development Fund. The SAU's first academic session commenced from August 2010 with two Master's Courses being offered to 50 students from all across the region, the report said.

The passage of the bill for establishment of Nalanda University in August, 2010 as an 'Institution of International Learning and Excellence' was another major milestone.

As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, India has been positively contributing to issues on the agenda of the Council.

"India also continued to work for reform of the United Nations, particularly expansion of the UN Security Council in both the permanent and non-permanent categories. We also played an active role in the creation of the UN entity of gender equality and empowerment of women," the report said.