BUDGET SPEECH | Prez backs UPA?s foreign policy
AHEAD OF French President Jacques Chirac?s visit on Sunday, US President George W. Bush?s trip next month and the crucial March 6 IAEA meet on Iran, President A.P.J Abdul Kalam?s address to Parliament sought to deflect criticism about the UPA?s foreign policy.india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 13:07 IST
AHEAD OF French President Jacques Chirac’s visit on Sunday, US President George W. Bush’s trip next month and the crucial March 6 IAEA meet on Iran, President A.P.J Abdul Kalam’s address to Parliament sought to deflect criticism about the UPA’s foreign policy.
Stating that foreign policy is guided by “enlightened national interest”, the President’s 20-page address painted a bright future for the country in the wake of the pro-people policies of the UPA regime on the economic, political and foreign fronts.
Dispelling fears about the Indo-US deal, Kalam said: “The government expects the country may gain access to international cooperation for enlargement of our civilian nuclear energy sector.” Dwelling on relations with other nations, he said the government expected Islamabad to end infiltration and cross-border terrorism.
The address — which outlines the government’s thinking — stated that the “country is destined to regain its due place in the 21st century”.
Taking a dig at the former NDA government, the President said: “Confidence in India, in our democracy and in our economy has never been higher. We have been able to restore pluralism, tolerance and compassion. We have been able to replace debates that sought to divide the nation with debates that matter to everyday living of the people, debates on issues of concern to the aam aadmi.”
The BJP’s ‘India Shining’ campaign too was punctured with the observation that between 1999-2003, the country’s five per cent growth rate had been “none too exciting”.
Coming ahead of the presentation of the Railway and General Budgets, the address unveiled a reforms agenda. It said the 7.5 per cent growth rate in 2004-05 and the projected 8 per cent in 2005-06 in the face of a global oil price hike spelt “better times to come”. The President said the UPA’s new architecture of inclusive development stood on five pillars: the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act