Economic engagement must for foreign ties: Anand Sharma

Economic engagement must for foreign ties: Anand Sharma New Delhi: Noting that economic diplomacy has become integral to bilateral and regional relations, the government Sunday stressed the need to strengthen commercial engagements with emerging economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

"Economic engagement has become integral to bilateral and regional relations. The country needs to strengthen commercial engagements with emerging economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America and embrace the world through mutually beneficial trade and investment linkages," Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Anand Sharma said at the end of the three-day conference of India's Heads of Foreign Missions here.

He explained the measures taken by the government to correct the current account and trade deficits and the policy changes that are being pushed to make India a favourable destination for much-needed foreign investments.

Highlighting Africa's emergence as an important economic destination Sharma, called for reinforcing India's historical ties with the continent.

The conference saw discussions on non-traditional but crucial aspects of foreign policy practice, including public diplomacy, role of think tanks, cultural and commercial diplomacy besides multi-lateral negotiations on environmental and climate change.

Terming India a "cultural super power", president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations Karan Singh emphasised the role and importance of cultural and public diplomacy tools in projecting the country's soft power.

Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan said India's priority is and should remain growth and development.

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai urged the Heads of Missions to be ready to take on multifarious challenges facing the country in the rapidly changing global environment.

IANS