India to reaffirm NAM credentials, Swaraj heads to Bandung

sushmaReaffirming India’s non-aligned credentials, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has headed on a five-day visit to Indonesia, where she will attend the 60th commemoration of the historic 1955 Asian-African conference, the progenitor of the Non-Aligned Movement. She is also scheduled to attend the 10th anniversary celebrations of the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership. Accompanied by senior diplomats from the ministry, she would visit Jakarta and Bandung to take part in a host of important engagements.

The conference is expected to witness participation of heads from several countries, including China, Japan, South Africa. Earlier, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed his inability to attend the commemoration due to the ongoing budget session in the parliament.

Mr Modi wrote a letter to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo and expressed his regrets for not being able to participate in the celebration. However, he invited Mr Widodo to visit India, and said he was looking forward to visiting Indonesia at a mutually convenient time. Underlining the importance New Delhi gives to India-Indonesia bilateral relationship, the prime minister said “there was much in “our proximity, history, culture and now, the sheer democratic values and our roles as two major emerging Asian nations that impart great strategic importance to our partnership.”

The 1955 conference, led by Indonesia’s iconic leader Sukarno, stirred a wave of enthusiasm among leaders like Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whose famous ‘Panchsheel’ doctrine was included in the 10 principles of international peace and cooperation in the historic declaration.

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