Miasma of terrorism continuing to target India
"Our region faces many challenges. The difficult situation concerning Afghanistan is one of them as well as the miasma of terrorism that is engulfing Pakistan and has targeted and endangered and continues to target and endanger our own citizens," she said.
Delivering her address at the convocation of Pondicherry University, she said "our primary focus has to be on our region and how we marginalize and overcome those forces that do not not want our region to grow and prosper, do not want education of our girl children or women`s empowerment and those forces that seek prolonging rather than the solution of issues that divide us."
Rao, who was conferred the Honorary Degree of Letters (Honoris Causa) on the occasion, said India has vital relationships with the US, Europe, Russia and Japan, built on priorities determined by national interest. "With China, our largest neighbour, it is important that we continue to transact a well-calibrated relationship, conscious of the enormously complex nature of our ties and therefore always guided by mature judgment and long-range vision`.
She said this was not a sign of weakness as some make it out to be and it was an approach dictated by "sober assessments". "Emotional complexes cannot be a driving force in foreign policy`, she contended. The Ambassador said India would move at a pace that is dictated by its own needs.
"Prescriptive approaches cannot be applied to India. There must be understanding of the challenges we face and our determination to overcome them," she said. Former Chief Justice of India, Justice M N Venkatchaliah, was also conferred the Honorary Doctorate. Lt Governor Iqbal Singh, Minister of State in the PMO V.Narayanasamy and Vice-Chancellor of the University J A K Tareen were among those present.