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We will follow muscular foreign policy: BJP

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February 24, 2009 00:15 IST

The BJP today said if voted to power, it would pursue a "muscular and far-sighted foreign policy" to secure India's interests, which the party alleged had been "substantially compromised" by the United Progressive Alliance government.

BJP's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani today held a meeting with a group of foreign policy experts to discuss the
issue and incorporate their ideas in the agenda for governance of the National Democratic Alliance government.

The meeting was one in the series of meetings Advani has held with experts from fields like security, economy and

"The experts' consensus was that the UPA government's foreign policy in the past five years has been an abject failure," senior BJP leader and former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha told reporters.

Alleging that India's autonomy in conduct of foreign policy had been seriously undermined, Sinha said, "Though India should continue to have close and multi-dimensional friendship with the US....India should not put all its eggs in one basket and hope US President Barack Obama will do something."

The leader quoted Advani as stating in the meeting that if NDA got the mandate in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls,"Our government will pursue a muscular and farsighted foreign policy aimed at preserving India's autonomy, securing our national interests in the neighbourhood and promoting our strategic interests in the emerging."

Those who attended the meeting included former foreign secretary Shashank, former Indian ambassador to Sri Lanka N N Jha, Yashwant Sinha and former Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Vijay Kapoor.

Sinha said UPA government's neighbourhood policy had been a disaster.

"Our neighbourhood turned more unfriendly than at any time in the past sixty years, Nepal and Sri Lanka being
the most striking examples," he alleged.

He said India has lost an opportunity to get into the UN Security Council (UNSC) as it did not cultivate the African and Latin American nations, which opposed India's candidature.

The former external affairs minister said India's proximity with other contenders for a UNSC seat like Germany, Japan and Brazil had led their foes into opposing us.

The BJP also took serious note of response of Russia, a traditional ally, post Mumbai terror attack.

"Russia's stand was shocking. They appear to be even-handed between India and Pakistan," Sinha said.

The MP said the UPA government had also frittered away the "momentum and vigour" the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had put in relations with Iran and the East Asian countries.

 "Iran is a very important partner of India in Central Asia. It is our access to Central Asia but we voted against it in IAEA under US pressure," he said.

Sinha said NDA had always favoured bringing the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline through the sea as Pakistan was not a reliable partner.

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