India has received $55 billion (Rs 3.69 lakh crore) in foreign direct investment in the last two years, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday, noting that enhanced economic engagement with countries across the world has been a priority of the government's foreign policy.
Swaraj addressed an hour-long annual press conference in New Delhi in which she highlighted the achievements of the National Democratic Alliance government in the diplomatic sphere in the past one year, dwelling at length on initiatives to expand India's global engagements.
The external affairs minister said government had touched base with 140 countries in the past year and listed India's growing ties with nations in the African continent, countries of the Gulf region and Pacific islands as major achievements.
India will reach out to another 65 countries to which it will send its ministers. There have not been any ministerial visits to these countries, Swaraj said.
Swaraj said she and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited six SAARC countries, with the government strongly pursuing its ''neighbourhood first'' policy.
She said because of the sustained efforts, India has received $55 billion in FDI in the last two years.
''It is an increase of 43 per cent compared to the time when the UPA was in power. You have to make efforts to get FDI. Because of our effort, FDI has gone up,'' Swaraj said, adding that various foreign governments are participating in India's flagship programmes like rejuvenation of the Ganga River and smart cities projects due to the Ministry of External Affairs' continuous efforts.
The external affairs minister said India's ties with the US have improved significantly, adding the government will not undermine national interest while pursuing good relations with that country.
On the issue of the South China Sea dispute, she said India wants peaceful settlement.
She said India will try to build consensus on Teesta water agreement with Bangladesh for which West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will have to be taken on board.
Talking about cooperation with Japan, Swaraj said the country will be a permanent participant in the Malbar military exercise in which only India and the US participated earlier.
The latest Malabar exercise was completed last week with Japan participating and a wary China keeping close tabs. (See: China shadows joint US-Japan-India naval exercises).