Monday, October 25, 1999 Published at 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
World: South Asia
India pledges 'bold' reforms
A ceremonial procession led the president into parliament
India's newly re-elected government has outlined a new phase of economic reforms to boost the country's growth rate.
The five-year programme places emphasis on wide-ranging economic, social and political reform.
Addressing members of the upper and lower house in parliament, the president said the scourge of poverty could only be overcome with a bold reform programme that would raise the country's economic growth rate 7-8%.
President Narayanan said the government would work to create 10 million additional jobs, mainly in agriculture, housing and small industry.
A new ministry of information technology has been created to make India an "IT superpower", targeting software exports of $50bn by 2008.
The government also pledged to increase foreign investment from its current level of $4bn to $10bn per year through greater transparency and cuts in bureaucratic delays.
Foreign and defence policy
The president said the recent military takeover in Pakistan was "a matter of grave concern".
"Government will ensure that our defence forces are fully equipped to meet and challenge to our national security," he said.
He also said that India would look to "deepen and broaden" relations with the United States. Improved relations with China and continued strong ties to Russia were other foreign policy objectives.
In its first few weeks in office, the government of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has several key legislative bills pending.
These include deregulation of the state-run insurance sector, allowing trading in derivatives, and new laws on foreign exchange regulations money laundering.
The moves have been welcomed by business in a year that has seen India's share markets rise by 60%.