India’s Vision for the Indo-Pacific Region Remains Positive, says Modi
SINGAPORE: Hailing the rising East which has inspired India for thousands of years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asserted that India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific Region remains a positive one.
With each Southeast Asian country, he said, India has growing political, economic and defence relations.
Addressing the prestigious Shangri-La Dialogue here, Mr. Modi said India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members and nor as a grouping that seeks to dominate or being directed against any country.
He is the first Indian Prime Minister to deliver the key-note address at Shangri-La Dialogue. In his nearly one-hour long speech, Mr. Modi stressed upon the need of cooperation among all nations in an inter-dependent world to meet the challenges of terrorism, cyber security, protecting the planet and non-proliferation. He said India seeks to cooperate for architecture of peace and security in the region.
Unveiling India’s vision, Mr. Modi said India stands “for a free, open, inclusive region, which embraces us all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity. It includes all nations in this geography as also others beyond who have a stake in it.’’
Stressing that the common prosperity and security require the nations in the region to evolve, through dialogue, a common rules-based order for the region, Mr. Modi said it must equally apply to all individually as well as to the global commons.
“We should all be equally permitted to benefit from the use of common spaces on sea and in the air without discrimination. When we all agree to live by that code, our sea lanes will be pathways to prosperity and corridors of peace,’’ he said.
Seeking a level playing field for all, Mr. Modi said solutions cannot be found behind walls of protection, but in embracing change.
“India stands for open and stable international trade regime. We will also support rule-based, open, balanced and stable trade environment in the Indo-Pacific Region, which lifts up all nations on the tide of trade and investment,’’ he said.
Prime Minister Modi cautioned that Asia of rivalry will hold us all back and Asia of cooperation will shape this century. “So, each nation must ask itself: are its choices building a more united world, or forcing new divisions? It is a responsibility that both existing and rising powers have. Competition is normal. But, contests must not turn into conflict; differences must not be allowed to become disputes,’’ he said.
Pointing to the real challenges of protecting our planet, non-proliferation and securing the people from terrorism and cyber threats, Mr Modi said these could be met when all nations work together.
Making a fervent appeal to global leaders and communities to rise above divisions and work together for a secure world, he said that no nation can shape and secure the world on its own.
“This is a world of inter-dependent fortunes and failures and no nation can shape and secure it on its own. It is a world that summons us to rise above divisions and competition to work together. Is that possible? Yes. It is possible. I see ASEAN as an example and inspiration,’’ Mr. Modi said.
“Three years ago, in Mauritius, I described our vision in one word – SAGAR, which means ocean in Hindi. And, S.A.G.A.R. stands for Security and Growth for All in the Region,’’ he said.
Mr. Modi said the Indian Ocean has shaped much of India’s history and it now holds the key to the future as well.
Describing Singapore as India’s springboard to the ASEAN, the Prime Minister said that it has been, for centuries, a gateway for India to the broader East.
He also touched upon India’s relations with the U.S., China and Russia.
“It is a measure of our strategic autonomy that India’s first Strategic Partnership, with Russia, has matured to be special and privileged,’’ he said.
On India’s global strategic partnership with the United States, he said it continues to deepen across the extraordinary breadth of the bilateral relationship.
Referring to India-China cooperation which is expanding, Mr. Modi said trade is growing and both the countries have displayed maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border. “There is growing intersection in our international presence,’’ he said.