‘India First’ principle guiding our foreign policy, says Modi

Amaravati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday ‘India First’ was the simple mantra guiding his government’s foreign policy as it went about setting the global narrative on several issues.

He also said the cross-LoC surgical strikes targeting terror launch pads in Pakistan two years ago showcased the country’s ability to deal with terrorism “in a language the terrorists understand.”

Modi reaffirmed his promise of bringing back black money stashed in tax havens and to punish those who had it. Addressing BJP workers in different towns of Andhra Pradesh through the NaMo App, the Prime Minister noted that India emerged as a global leader because of the 130 crore people of the country.

“Our foreign policy is based on the simple mantra of India First. Forget being left out of the global narrative, India is now setting the global narrative on several issues. It’s not because of me. It is due to each and everyone of the country who elected a government with full majority. It is the nation and people’s interests that are dictating India’s foreign policy,” Modi said, responding to a question by a party worker of Narsapuram.

The Prime Minister said while attending his first G20 Summit he spoke of the need for the world to come together to fight black money in order to guarantee a better life to millions of people and how the issue later found resonance at several global forums.

Noting that India entered into agreements with many countries to secure real-time information on tainted money, Modi asserted “black money would be brought back and those who have black money will be punished.”

Referring to terrorism, the Prime Minister said the world had now acknowledged that India was a victim of terrorism for at least four decades. “We in India want peace. We also know how to deal with terrorists in a language they understand,” he declared, adding the surgical strikes were an example of that.

“Not only did we carry out the surgical strikes but we also got the full support of many nations from across the world for our actions,” he said. Apart from being important for security, the foreign policy was also important for the economy, the Prime Minister noted.

“For the first time in 20 years, our country has crossed China in Foreign Direct Investment. Our 75 bn USD worth currency swap agreement with Japan shows how strong friendship with other nations also means great economic benefits,” he said.

Modi recalled a recent letter he got from a citizen who said all schemes of his government revolved around security. “National, internal, physical, financial, health…. security against uncertainties of life. There are many dimensions to the concept of security. We have worked on all of them,” he said.

Modi said his government ensured proper security to the country and its citizens but its work on security went beyond national and internal security. “Think of women’s safety and security. We have gone to the extent of making provisions for death penalty for certain crimes against women. The provision of death sentence for rape of a girl child under 12 years is a landmark move,” he noted.

Beyond just physical security, the government also concentrated on financial security for all, he said, referring to schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Sukanya Samruddhi Yojana, PM Suraksha Bima Yojana and PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana.

Health security, he said, had emerged as the biggest need for the country and it was only when the health needs of people were taken care of can they achieve great deeds for the nation. Calling his government’s health insurance scheme ‘Ayushman Bharat’ a game changer, the Prime Minister said now the poor no longer needed to suffer health problems because they could not afford treatment. They can get treated at best hospitals for free, he said.