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`India believes in Panchsheel'

Diplomatic Correspondent

NEW DELHI: "Our foreign policy is based on the principles of Panchsheel and non-alignment. We firmly believe in democracy and human rights," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday night.

Constructive agenda

Addressing foreign diplomats attending a training course here, Mr. Mukherjee said the "most important objective" of India's foreign policy was to set a constructive agenda for economic development.

"In recent years, the expectations of our friends for India to play a more dynamic and meaningful role in the international system have been on the rise. We try our best to discharge our responsibilities, both bilaterally as also through the United Nations and other multilateral agencies," the External Affairs Minister stressed.

According to him, an environment of security, predictability and peace is essential for people to prosper, business to flourish and development to take place. "Enhancing cooperation in the field of security is critical to our larger efforts aimed at building lasting economic ties."

Threat of terrorism

Mr. Mukherjee said the principal threats to peace and stability in the world flowed less from wars between nations and more from the threat of transnational terrorism. "That is why ... we should not lose sight of the overarching importance of working purposefully and in cooperation to combat the menace of terrorism."

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