This is the eighth Volume in the series India’s Foreign Relations, published annually in cooperation with the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Set up in 2006, this Division is the public face of the Ministry, reaching out to the think-tanks, academia, civil society and industry both within and outside of the country and interacts with them on the contours of India’s foreign policy.

Today there is a paradigm shift from treating foreign relations as an esoteric subject to one of wider debate and discussion. The information explosion, and consequent dissemination of foreign policy related information through the electronic media and the proliferation of newspapers and other sources of information has made the aam admi aware of what goes on in the world and how his life is impacted by events in the global village. He wants to be informed how the foreign policy initiatives of the government would make his life better and secure. The government today whether in India or elsewhere cannot take a decision behind closed doors and expect the people to back it too. That is an onerous challenge a democratic and responsive government has to contend with today— to carry the message of foreign policy to the people at large and keep them informed.

India with a population of a billion and one of the largest and fastest growing economies of the world is of interest globally to scholars, academia, diplomats and industry alike. There is a need to reach out to them. The scientific study of foreign relations requires easy availability of original documents as tools of research and analysis. It is the fond hope of this editor that the present
series is performing that task.

Over the years the bandwidth of India’s foreign relations has increased many folds. Subjects which were not part of foreign policy discourse like, nuclear and thermal energy, climate change, terrorism, financial and monetary issues, trade and investments etc., are today routinely discussed both at the bilateral levels and international gatherings. India is also dialogue partner and/or member of major international organizations/conferences like G-5/G-8, G- 20, BRIC, RIC, SCO, EU, ASEM, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, EAS, CICA, IBSA, SAARC, NAM and many more. All these engagements generate a volume X of documents which necessitate inclusion. However the bulk has grown to an extent that it has become difficult to handle. The resort to electronic technology has become the obvious solution to which recourse has been made in the present case. While the printed volume provides the ready reference to the totality of material made available, by placing the text of some of the documents in the accompanying Compact Disc (CD), the bulk has been brought within a reasonable limit. It is hoped the users too will find this format convenient.

The documents have been, as in the past, categorized thematically and region-wise as necessary. Those which do not fall in any particular category and deal with two or more subjects/countries have been placed in the General List with cross referencing wherever necessary.

During the year there were changes at the top echelon of the Ministry. After the general elections in the new Cabinet constituted by the Prime Minister in May Shri S. M. Krishna took over as External Affairs Minister replacing Shri Pranab Mukherjee. At the Minister of State level, Shrimati Preneet Kaur and Dr. Shashi Tharoor replaced Shri E. Ahamed and Shri Anand Sharma respectively. At the top official level there were changes too. On superannuation of Shri Shivshankar Menon on July 31, 2009 Shrimati Nirupama Rao took over as Foreign Secretary. On the superannuation of Shri N, Ravi and on the posting out of Shri Nalin Surie, Ms. Vijaya Latha Reddy took over as Secretary (East) and Shri Vivek Katju as Secretary (West). Shrimati Parbati Sen Vyas took over as Secretary (Economic Relations) from Shri Hardeep Singh Puri on his being posted out as Permanent Representative of India at the United Nations in New York.

In undertaking this task I have as in the past, received help from several sources and friends. I remain indebted to them. Shri TCA Rangachari as always has been generous with his time and went through the Introduction rather meticulously and his advice and critical comments helped to rhyme the text. Many thanks, Sir. Having said that let me hasten to add that I remain fully responsible for any deficiency that may be found either in the Introduction or any where else in the book.

Avtar Singh Bhasin
March 20, 2010.