Published annually, the present Volume is the seventh in the series India's Foreign Relations. As its name implies, it showcases the documents on India's foreign relations and is published in cooperation with the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs. This Division was created in 2006 to reach out to think-tanks, academia, civil society and industry both within the country and abroad to interact with them on the contours of Indian foreign policy and to initiate debate and discussion within the wider public about the key foreign policy issues.

As in 2007, the issue of civil nuclear energy cooperation with the United States, continued to dominate both the foreign policy discourse as well as domestic politics of the country. It was not until the realignment of domestic political forces that the hump was crossed at home that the government felt emboldened to talk the issue over with other international players in the game and signed agreements with institutions like the IAEA, NSG and individual countries. The bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, seaborne terrorist attack in Mumbai, Pakistan's intransigence in withholding cooperation and adopting bellicose posture, threatened to stall the peace process so arduously put in place in 2004. It is therefore natural that documents on nuclear energy cooperation and relations with Pakistan should form the bulk of the Volume.

Considering the importance of climate change in international discourse today, a separate section has been added for this subject.

The documents have been categorized region-wise, thematically and arranged chronologically. There are documents which do not fall in any particular category, and have references to several subjects/issues; these figure in the General category, with cross referencing, wherever possible. To take care of the bulk, bilateral agreements of only strategic nature having bearing on foreign relations have, as a rule, been included here. However, in the case of neighbours, all agreements have been included comprehensively, as each one has a bearing on the overall relationship.

In reproducing the documents every care has been taken to adhere to the original in terms of spellings of proper nouns, and punctuations.

The Library of the India International Centre has provided me a great deal of logistic support in my work. I am grateful to its Chief Librarian Ms. Sushma Zutshi and her colleagues.

I wish to acknowledge the support and help of a large number of officers of the Ministry of External Affairs in the preparation of this volume. While not naming every one by name since the list is quite a long one, I would particularly like to acknowledge the contributions of M/s. Amit Dasgupta and Narinder Singh. My personal thanks to all of them. I owe a debt of gratitude to TCA Rangachari for sparing a good deal of his time, to go meticulously through the Introduction with a fine comb to rhyme the text. Thank you, Sir. Whatever deficiencies have occurred in the publication in any manner and form, I do not share the blame for that with any one else. They are all mine.

I am dedicating this book to late V. Venkateswara Rao, who was a Counsellor in the Indian Embassy in Kabul and became a martyr when the Mission came under terrorist attack on July 7, 2008. It was for the first time that an Indian asset was attacked by terrorists outside the country. The Officers of the Indian diplomatic service posted in far flung places, carry out their arduous duties in difficult areas of the world in the service of the nation not caring for their personal security and comfort. They make themselves vulnerable to all sorts of dangers but they honour the call of their duty. I salute the memory of late Venkateswara Rao by this humble dedication.

Avtar Singh Bhasin
February 10, 2009.