NEW DELHI: Neighbours are not only those with whom one share geographical boundaries but also those with whom hearts meet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, asserting that India has deepened its relations with all countries in the extended neighbourhood.
Modi said India’s ties with West Asian and ASEAN countries have grown manifold in key sectors.
“India is constantly trying to deepen its age-old cultural, social and economic ties with its neighbouring countries. South Asia is home to one-fourth of the world population and we can create infinite possibilities of development and prosperity of such a large number of people through cooperation,” Modi said in his address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on India’s 74th Independence Day.
Asserting that all leaders of the region have a big responsibility for the development and prosperity of their people, the prime minister said the more peace and harmony there will be in the region the better it will be for humanity.
“Today, neighbours are not only those with whom we share geographical boundaries but also those with whom our hearts meet. In recent times, India has strengthened its relations with all countries in the extended neighbourhood,” Modi said.
Rapid progress has been made in India’s political, economic and human relations with West Asian countries and the trust with them has also grown, he said.
“With these countries, our economic relations, especially in the energy sector, are very important. A large number of our brothers and sisters are working in these countries. The way these countries helped Indians in the times of coronavirus and honoured the Indian government’s requests, India is thankful to them,” he added.
ASEAN countries, which are India’s maritime neighbours, are also very important for the country. India shares age-old religious and cultural ties with them, Modi said.
India is expanding cooperation with these countries not just in the security sector but also in the field of marine resources, he said.
“Today, the world’s confidence in India has increased. Recently, for the election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, India was backed by 184 out of 192 countries. This is a matter of pride for India. It is an example of the position we have created for ourselves in the world,” he said.