Rapid rise of India, China redefining global and regional situation, says Nirupama RaoFebruary 22nd, 2010 - 11:59 pm ICT by ANI
By Cynthia Chandran
London, Feb.22 (ANI): Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao on Monday said that with the rapid rise of China and India, the global and regional situation is being re-defined.
Addressing at the 3rd MEA-IISS Seminar on “Perspectives on Foreign Policy for a 21st Century India, Ms. Nirupama Rao on the issue of India’s extended neighbourhood, said: “It is evident that with the rapid rise of China and India, the global and regional situation is being re-defined. There is much that is said about China’s rise and its implications for India. There is both competition and collaboration in the dynamic equilibrium of our relationship with China.”
“Both our countries have always thought in civilizational time-frames. Even as we are discussing the unresolved boundary question, we have ensured that there is peace and tranquility in our border areas. China has emerged as India’s largest trading partner. We are consulting each other on global issues such as multilateral trade negotiations, climate change, and in the G-20, etc.,” said Ms. Rao.
She said: “In the decade ahead, India will have to, as one writer noted recently, provide itself with “the widest possible field of vision” when it comes to China. This will entail not only a multi-dimensional approach to developing relations with China but also creating our menu of strategic options to ensure that we are able to protect and promote our interests effectively in our region.”
Talking about the complex and evolving nature of India-China dialogue, Ms. Rao said: “Key elements in the India-China relationship like imbalances in bilateral trade, the unresolved boundary question, our dialogue on water resources with regard to the trans-border rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Sutlej point to the complex and evolving nature of our dialogue.”
“The rapid growth of our economies has engendered a search for resources by both countries in third countries and regions across the globe. In some cases, we have developed patterns of collaboration with the Chinese, in others, we have been in competition. This is the reality of the relationship,” Ms. Rao said.
“In our own region, which remains geo-politically unstable, China has an enduring strategic relationship with Pakistan, and a growing presence in other neighbouring countries. We are conscious of these leverages that China has developed in our region and realize fully that our relations with China cannot be uni-dimensional, or seen through a narrow prism. Our own relations with our South Asian neighbours acquire crucial importance in this scenario. Our economic strength and increased commitment to the economic development of our neighbourhood in South Asia, sustained dialogue at the leadership level, security-related dialogue especially as it relates to better border management, cooperation in health, education and environment-related sectors, and creating the infrastructure for better intra-regional connectivity and transportation, together with the attraction of India’s soft power are all factors that can be, and are being, mobilized in this context,” Ms. Rao added.
Talking about India’s relations with its neighbours like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar and also with the United Kingdom, Ms. Rao said from India’s perspective, the goal of ushering in a peaceful, stable and prosperous neighbourhood is predicated on enabling each of its neighbors to pursue the shared objective of the development of our peoples.
“We do not see this as a zero sum game but as a cooperative endeavor, requiring collaboration rather than confrontation, so as to enable each of our neighbours to grow. We do not see this as a compulsion but as a natural choice voluntarily made; a corollary of the inter-dependent world we live in. We believe that our strengths place us in a unique position to actively support the socio- economic development in our region,” Ms. Rao stated.
Talking about India’s relations with Sri Lanka, Ms. Rao said: “With Sri Lanka our political relations are close, trade and investment have increased exponentially, and there is broad-based engagement across all sectors of bilateral cooperation. We view the conclusion of the military operations against the LTTE as providing an opportunity to finally achieve a lasting political settlement acceptable to all communities, including the Tamils, within a united Sri Lanka.”
About Bangladesh, Ms. Rao said: “Our relations with Bangladesh have acquired further substance and scope in recent months, particularly after the very successful visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in January this year. Our security related cooperation has developed positively as also our cooperation in infrastructural development in Bangladesh, for which we have announced a US $ 1 billion concessional Line of Credit.”
“It is a universally held truth that India’s economic growth has a positive impact on our region. Today, with sustained high economic growth rates over the past decade, India is in a better position to offer a significant stake to our neighbours in our own prosperity and growth. We have made unilateral gestures and extended economic concessions such as the facility of duty free access to Indian market for imports from Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka. We have put forward proposals multilaterally within the framework of the SAARC or the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation where we have assumed asymmetric responsibilities,” Ms. Rao added.
Ms. Rao also said that India’s engagement with the ASEAN has grown manifold over the past decade and half and is set to get a fillip with the conclusion of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement.
“Myanmar is an ASEAN member country with which we share a border of more than 1640 kms. We have advocated engagement with Myanmar since it is a close neighbour of ours. It is important for India to ensure a peaceful periphery with Myanmar. We strongly believe that any political reform process in Myanmar should be peaceful and not cause instability within that country or on our borders with it,” Ms. Rao said.
Making a special mention of India and United Kingdoms’ relations, Ms. Rao said: “The UK is an important interlocutor for us in the bilateral, EU, G8 and global contexts and our multi-faceted bilateral relationship has intensified specially since its upgradation to strategic partnership in 2004. Our engagement is most wide-ranging including high-level visits, parliamentary and official-level exchanges, business interaction and cultural interchanges. President Pratibha Patil was on a State visit to the UK from 27-29 October 2009. There have been regular exchanges of visits at the Prime Minister-level. Institutional linkages have continued through regular FOCs, JWG and India-UK Round Table.”
“Our trade and investment partnerships are both-ways and expanding rapidly. India is the second largest source of students to UK with about 31,000 students. Science & technology is a focus area for our two countries. On 11 February 2010, we signed a Joint Declaration on civil nuclear cooperation which will give a new dimension to our already multi-dimensional and vibrant ties,” Ms. Rao added. (ANI)
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