India’s Neighbourhood First is not just a slogan but a practical manifestation of always standing together and going the extra mile to help the neighbours, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday as he underlined the importance of standing together as a region.
Speaking at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the India International Centre (ICC), Jaishankar argued that India’s prosperity should serve as a lifting tide for other countries in the region.
It underlines the true spirit of Neighborhood First, which for us is not a slogan but practical manifestation of always standing together. pic.twitter.com/GHU51YtYam— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 29, 2023
“When in foreign policy, we speak about neighbourhood first, it’s not just a slogan, it’s not something you put in a report it is a practical manifestation of the importance of standing by each other, of helping each other out, of actually building a larger neighbourhood," the external affairs minister said.
“…a neighbourhood where India’s prosperity, in a way, serves as a lifting tide, where we are generous, non-reciprocal, where we go the extra mile with our neighbours to forge what is a collective neighbourhood," he added.
At a time when South Asia is going through a difficult period, Jaishankar called for a collective response to help India’s struggling neighbours.
“This region is going through a very difficult period…a lot of our neighbours struggling with issues, some of which are not of their making. This is a time for us, as a region to stand together,” he said.
India’s Neighbourhood First Policy has remained one of the fundamental pillars of the country’s diplomacy, according to the newly published report by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
In 2022, each of the relationships with countries in the region witnessed
progress and consolidation, including high-level visits.
According to the MEA report, the bulk of the Ministry’s Development Partnership budget, comprising about 66 percent, is allocated to the neighbouring countries under the Government’s “Neighbourhood First” Policy.
India has played a major role and has been a reliable and growing source of
global healthcare capacities during this pandemic period. In line with our Neighbourhood First policy, the supplies were first undertaken to our neighbouring countries as India’s gift.
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