The Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that he is delighted to be in Lao PDR which has been in our consciousness for a very long time. Addressing at an Indian Community Reception hosted in his honour by the Indian Ambassador in Lao PDR Shri Ravi Shankar Aisola at Vientiane, the capital of Lao PDR, Shri Ansari said that we have engaged with Lao PDR for a very long time. It has been a good trouble-free relationship. It is a small country but small countries also have a place under the Sun and we in India have been very conscious of it.
He said that apart from our earlier relationship, the more recent relationship which is even more important is the ASEAN grouping. We regard the ASEAN grouping and in fact the whole of South East Asia as an area in our immediate neighborhood where as the Prime Minister put it recently ‘Look East Policy’ is not sufficient, it has to be an ‘Act East Policy’ and as part of that endeavor, we are actively, consciously building our linkages—political linkages, economic linkages, trade linkages above all retaining and reviving cultural linkages which go back a long time.
The Vice President said that what are the Indian capacities which can be brought in to play and what are the areas India can benefit from them, from an active relationship with them. We have got over the economic constraints that we had in the 80s and the 90s even till a few years back. The Indian economy is doing well. The Indian private sector assisted by a great deal of liberalization and government policies is now outward looking and they are looking at the whole world.
He said that in the coming days we are going to have a very big gathering of over 40 African heads of states in Delhi where we would discuss ways of enhancing our cooperation with these countries. So one phase of post-independent India’s approach to the outside world has more or less been completed – that is building up relationships of friendship –good political relations and that relationship has been built up on a much longer association in terms of Indian policy towards the world particularly in Africa. And the support that we gave to a whole range of African countries, not the least of them being South Africa in the fight against Apartheid. That phase is now over. Today we are looking at the world of tomorrow. The world of tomorrow will be the world of investment, the world of technology.