He said Indo-Pacific region is not a club directed to counter any one country but it is a positive construct that holds promise of peace and prosperity for all. The caveats are that relations should be based on mutual respect, understanding, dialogue and prosperity. Freedom of navigation and an open, global free trade regime were also dubbed as essential for Asia’s rise to ensure a better future for the entire world.
At the inaugural session of Asia’s premier defence summit, the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address was both eagerly awaited and highly anticipated. In his keynote address PM Modi put forward India’s perspective for the Indo-Pacific region and vibrancy of India’s Act east policy.
PM Modi made it clear that the Indo-Pacific region is an interlinked region and the destinies of all the nations are interlinked. He called all to rise above the divisions to live together. He gave a new mantra for lasting peace in the Indo-Pacific region.
PM also said that India doesn’t see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. He gave 6 basic elements of India’s policy for the region.
1) Stand for a free open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
2) South East Asia remains at the center of Indo-Pacific region.
3) The necessity to evolve through dialogue, a common rule-based order for the region dialogue.
4) All nations should have equal access as a right under international law to use of common places on the sea and in the air.
5) Solutions cannot be found within Walls of protectionism but in embracing change.
6) If connectivity initiatives have to be successful they must be built on bridges of trust highlighting need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Freedom of navigation and cooperation instead of rivalry were stressed by Prime Minister Modi for the progress of the Indo-Pacific region. He also hailed the importance of Singapore is pursuing these goals while emphasising the importance of the partnership that the entire ASEAN grouping has with India.
Prime Minister underlined the importance of securing trade and commerce sea lanes in Indo-Pacific region. He said that south East Asia is India’s neighbour by land and sea. He said that 90 percent of India’s trade goes through the area and it remains a vital source of energy security for the nation.
PM stressed that for the goals of development and prosperity to be achieved it is important that nations do not start competing with each other adding that rivalry will hold Asia back while that of cooperation will shape the century. PM also said that India’s diplomatic relations with powerful nations are dynamic, cordial and friendly.
He called ties with Japan as partnership of great substance and purpose. He went on to say that India is enjoying friendly ties with Russia and the relations with US are on a constant rise after decades of hesitation. He said Indo-US relations have new significance in changing world order. He said that cooperation with china is expanding and trade is growing between the two most populous nations in the world. He said that both the nations will have a better future if they are sensitive to each other’s interests.
PM Modi called Singapore India’s gateway to ASEAN. Started in 2002, the IISS Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore is the most important regular gathering of defence professionals in the Asia-Pacific region. Since its launch in 2002 the Dialogue has built confidence and fostered practical security cooperation, by facilitating easy communication and fruitful contact among the region’s most important defence and security policymakers.