Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday underlined
India's commitment to strengthening the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
and its desire to strengthen strategic partnership with Paris in all
areas, including civil nuclear cooperation and defence.
Manmohan Singh heads today to Sharm Al Shaikh in Egypt to attend the
15th NAM summit after a short trip to Paris where he will be the
chief guest at the July 14 National Day celebrations.
Alluding to "a close and wide-ranging strategic partnership" between
India and France, Manmohan Singh said: "We would like to build upon
our partnership in the areas of trade and investment, high
technology, space, nuclear energy, defence, education, culture,
tourism and scientific research and development."
In a statement before he left on the five-day overseas visit
yesterday, Manmohan Singh underscored the relevance of non-alignment
in the post Cold War era and said India will play its part in
strengthening the NAM.
"Non-alignment has been the bedrock of India's foreign policy since
it was enunciated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Non-alignment remains
an article of faith for us," Manmohan Singh said.
"In the post-Cold War era, when the world is no longer divided into
two military blocs, the Non-Aligned Movement has a renewed role to
play in the emerging world order," he said.
"The diversity and universality of the Non-Aligned Movement offers
NAM a unique opportunity to address the challenges of today."
The prime minister said "India will play its part in helping NAM to
regain its moral high ground to address issues which are of direct
concern and relevance to developing countries such as sustainable
development, climate change, food security, energy security,
terrorism and reform of the architecture of international
The highlight of Manmohan Singh's trip will be his meeting tomorrow
with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines
of the NAM summit in Sharm Al Shaikh, Egypt.