Trade between India and China is growing and the two countries have shown maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Singapore on Friday. The PM, who is on a three-nation tour, was delivering the keynote address at the Shangri-La Dialogue. “Asia and the world will have a better future if India and China worked together in trust and confidence,” he added.
PM Modi asserted that an Asia of “rivalries” will hold the region back while an Asia of cooperation will shape the century. “No other relationship of India has as many layers as our relations with China. We are the world’s two most populous countries and among the fastest growing economies. Our cooperation is expanding,” he said.
He added, “In April, a two-day informal summit with President Xi helped us cement our understanding that strong and stable relations between our two nations are an important factor for global peace and progress. I firmly believe that Asia and the world will have a better future when India and China work together in trust and confidence.”
Referring to regional maritime issues, Modi said India does not see the Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members. “India stands for a free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific region, which embraces us all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity,” he said.
“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. We will also be able to come together to prevent maritime crimes, preserve marine ecology, protect against disasters and prosper from blue economy,” he added.
Asia of rivalry will hold us all back.
Asia of cooperation will shape this century. pic.twitter.com/mCASMW6Mc7
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 1, 2018
The PM said he viewed ASEAN as an “inspiration and example” to help countries rise above division and competition. “This is a world of inter-dependent fortunes and failures. 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,” he said.
While calling Singapore India’s ‘springboard to ASEAN’, PM Modi said, “Singapore has been, for centuries, a gateway for India to the broader East. It shows us that when the oceans are open, the seas are secure, countries are connected, the rule of law prevails and the region is stable. For India, though Singapore means more. It’s the spirit that unites a lion nation and a lion city.”
Advocating India’s open stand on international trade regime, PM Modi said India stands for a stable environment in the Indo-Pacific region. “What we seek is a level playing field for all. India stands for open and stable trade environment in the Indo-Pacific Region, which lifts up all nations on the tide of trade and investment,” he said, adding, “Competition is normal. But, contests must not turn into conflict; differences must not be allowed to become disputes.”
Modi also said, “We are committed to make doing business easier as well as smoother in India. We will sustain growth of 7.5% to 8% per year. As our economy grows, our global and regional integration will increase.”
On India’s strategic partnership with Russia and the United States, Modi said, “With each Southeast Asian country, we are growing political, economic and defence ties. With ASEAN, from dialogue partners, we have become strategic partners over the course of 25 years.”
He added, “It is a measure of our strategic autonomy that India’s first Strategic Partnership, with Russia, has matured to be special and privileged. India’s global strategic partnership with the United States continues to deepen across the extraordinary breadth of our relationship. And, an important pillar of this partnership is our shared vision of an open, stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region.”