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'New found' respect for India globally: President Kovind

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NEW DELHI (PTI): There has been a "new found" respect for India due to the successful diplomatic efforts of the Government, President Ram Nath Kovind has said, while referring to India's representation at various international bodies, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In his address to a sitting of both the Houses of Parliament on Monday, the President also described inclusion of India in the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenar Arrangement and Australia Group as an "important" achievement of the Government.

This success has come after a long wait and with prolonged efforts, Kovind noted.

He said that 90,000 Indians stranded abroad have been brought back since 2014, and asserted that today all Indians residing in any corner of the world are confident that in case of a crisis, the Government will provide them with a safe passage to the country.

The President's speech is normally a report card of the Government's work. The speech was approved by the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in its meeting last week.

Holding that service to humanity was an integral part of India's cultural heritage, he said because of these values, India has always remained the first responder in times of crises, such as the earthquake in Nepal, flood calamity in Sri Lanka and drinking water crisis in Maldives.

"Due to the successful diplomatic efforts of my Government, there has been a new found respect for India. As a result, India has been able to secure representation in the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, International Maritime Organisation and Economic and Social Council.

"In a keenly contested election to the International Court of Justice, India emerged victorious," he said.

While Neeru Chadha had won a crucial election to the top UN judicial body that deals with disputes related to the law of the sea, Dalveer Bhadari was re-elected to the ICJ.

Terming as "historic" the commencement of operations at Chabahar Port, he said first shipment of wheat has been sent to Afghanistan through the port.

An air-corridor between India and Afghanistan has been made operational this year and shipment of freight has started, he said.

Elaborating on the activities undertaken by the External Affairs Ministry, he said on January 9 this year on the occasion of Parvasi Bhartiya Divas, a conference of Parliamentarians of Indian origin was organised for the first time in which elected representatives from 24 countries participated.

He also noted that ties with the Indian diaspora are being progressively strengthened.

The Ministry of External Affairs, in collaboration with the Department of Posts, has embarked upon a comprehensive programme for expansion of passport services in the country and under this programme, establishment of 251 passport service kendras has been announced, of which 60 centres have started functioning, Kovind added.

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