diplomatic engagements. The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) held its 1st IORA Summit
      in Indonesia in March 2017, where three documents were adopted viz. the IORA Concord laying
      out the vision of IORA, Declaration on Preventing Violent Extremism and Countering
      Terrorism, and the Action Plan of IORA for the next 5 years.
            India established itself as the first responder in rendering humanitarian and disaster relief.
      India has shown a willingness and determination to shoulder greater global responsibilities by
      extending its capacity as a “first responder” to crises beyond its borders. It provided critical relief
      supplies and medical assistance to the flood ravaged population of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in
      the aftermath of Cyclone Mora. Furthermore, the government pledged medical assistance worth
      US$ 1 million to Yemen and launched ‘Operation Insaniyat’ for relief of displaced persons in
            The Government has made domestic transformation of the economy intrinsic to its foreign
      policy strategy. The close association between foreign policy and domestic developmental
      aspirations has shown significant results in terms of increasing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
      inflows and creating a favourable investment climate. This was proven by the considerable leap
      in the World Bank’s ease of doing business rankings from 142 in 2014 to 100 in 2017. The
      period also saw fast tracking of international partnerships aimed at promoting and facilitating
      India’s flagship developmental initiatives such as Smart Cities, Skill India, Digital India and
      Namami Gange etc. A notable achievement was laying the foundation stone of India’s first high
      speed railway project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in September 2017. India also hosted
      the 52nd annual meeting of African Development Bank (AfDB) Group.
            The emphasis on expanding India’s diplomatic footprint to new countries and regions
      continued this year, with high-level exchanges with a number of countries around the world,
      many of which had not seen such engagements in recent years. This included our partners in
      Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean region. At the level of Heads of State and Government,
      the year witnessed incoming visits by the Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh,
      Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Latvia, Mauritius, Uganda, Israel and Italy, inter-alia and, by the
      Presidents of Turkey, Belarus, Armenia, Palestine, Afghanistan, Cyprus and Switzerland.
      Similarly, outgoing visits included those by President to Djibouti and Ethiopia and by Vice
      President to Poland, Armenia, Uganda, Rwanda and Jakarta. Prime Minister interacted with the
      new leadership in the USA and France and provided fresh impetus to our existing warm relations
      with the UAE, Japan, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Israel, the Philippines, Myanmar, China, Sri
      Lanka, Portugal, Kazakhstan and Russia. This extensive diplomatic outreach is illustrative of the
      government’s policy of proactive engagements in a fast changing world order so as to preserve
      and promote our national interests.
            On the issue of terrorism, India consistently advocated a policy of zero tolerance. It
      remained steadfast in its commitment to combat terrorism and supported efforts to expand
      cooperation to deal with this threat. During the period under review, India proposed a 11-point
      action plan to G20 leaders in Hamburg and at the BRICS Summit declaration in Xiamen. The
      plan calls for holding accountable those committing, organising, or supporting terrorist acts.
      Government continued to work under established frameworks with partner countries like the
      USA, Russia, Japan and the EU to disrupt financial flows to terrorists and to identify their assets.
            A major emphasis of the Government over the years has been on cultural diplomacy by
      utilising India’s cultural heritage and civilisational values and ethos to enhance its standing in the
      world. The diaspora plays a significant role in this diplomatic outreach, as it is both a component