PM silent on foreign policy, Pakistan

In a marked departure from his Independence Day speeches in the past, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday did not say a word about the government's foreign policy or of India's rising global stature - his favourite theme.

In the 66th Independence Day address, Manmohan Singh spoke just about every pressing issue before the nation, including inflation, the state of the Indian economy or the scourge of naxalism. But he steered clear of the government's foreign policy priorities, signalling the increased focus on domestic issues two years before the general elections.

Last year, Manmohan Singh had a few lines to say about India's rising global stature and its improving international relations.

"In the last seven years, our relations with various countries of the world have strengthened and deepened. It is only the result of our hard work that today we have much more self-respect and self-confidence in ourselves," he had said.

In 2010, Manmohan Singh was quite upbeat about the country's growing role in global affairs. "As the world's largest democracy, we have become an example for many other countries to emulate. Our citizens have the right to make their voice heard. Our country is viewed with respect all over the world. Our views command attention in international fora."

He had also spoken about resolving issues with neighbouring countries and hoped that Pakistan will deliver on its anti-terror promise.

Manmohan Singh did not speak about India's relations with Pakistan despite new disclosures by a 26/11 plotter linking Pakistani state agencies to Mumbai terror attack and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna's forthcoming visit to Islamabad.

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