NEW DELHI, JANUARY 17, 2017: Saying that he is aware that India’s transformation is not separated from its external context, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the world needed India’s sustained rise, as much as India needs the world.
Inaugurating the second edition of the Raisina Dialogue, organised by Observer Research Foundation in association with the Ministry of External Affairs, PM Modi said “Our desire to change our country has an indivisible link with the external world. It is, therefore, only natural that India’s choices at home and our international priorities form part of a seamless continuum. Firmly anchored in India’s transformational goals.”
Noting that the theme of the Dialogue this year is “The New Normal: Multilateralism with Multi Polarity”, the Prime Minister said “in May 2014, the people of India also ushered in a New Normal. My fellow Indians spoke in one voice to entrust my government with a mandate for change. Change not just of attitudes but of mindsets. Change from a state of drift to one of purposeful actions. Change to take bold decisions. A mandate in which reform would not be enough unless it transforms our economy and society. A transformation that is embedded in the aspiration and optimism of India’s youth, and in the boundless energy of its millions. Every day at work, I draw on this sacred energy. Every day at work, my ‘to do list’ is guided by the constant drive to reform and transform India, for prosperity and security of all Indians.
PM Modi said the world is going through profound changes. Globally connected societies, digital opportunities, technology shifts, knowledge boom and innovation are leading the march of humanity. But, sluggish growth and economic volatility are also a sobering fact. Physical borders may be less relevant in this age of bits and bytes. But, walls within nations, a sentiment against trade and migration, and rising parochial and protectionist attitudes across the globe are also in stark evidence.
He said the globalisation gains are at risk and economic gains are no longer easy to come by. Instability, violence, extremism, exclusion and transnational threats continue to proliferate in dangerous directions. And, non-state actors are significant contributors to the spread of such challenges. Institutions and architectures built for a different world, by a different world, are outdated, posing a barrier to effective multilateralism.
“As the world begins to re-order itself a quarter century after the strategic clarity of the Cold War, the dust has not yet settled on what has replaced it. But, a couple of things are clear. The political and military power is diffused and distributed The multi-polarity of the world, and an increasingly multi-polar Asia, is a dominant fact today. And, we welcome it,” the Prime Minister said.
Noting that the optimism of youth seeks change, opportunities, progress and prosperity, PM Modi said a thriving well-connected and integrated neighbourhood is his dream too. He said in the last two and half years, India have partnered with almost all our neighbours to bring the region together.
PM Modi said his vision for our neighbourhood puts a premium on peaceful and harmonious ties with entire South Asia. “For this vision, I had also travelled to Lahore. But, India alone cannot walk the path of peace. It also has to be Pakistan’s journey to make. Pakistan must walk away from terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue with India,” he asserted.
Describing the development of India and China as an unprecedented opportunity, for our two countries and for the whole world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that both the countries should show sensitivity and respect for each other’s core concerns and interests while managing their relationship for the peace and progress in the region.
Reminding that this century belongs to Asia and the sharpest trajectory of change is happening in Asia, he said there are large and vibrant pools of progress and prosperity across the landscape of this region. “But, rising ambition and rivalries are generating visible stress points. The steady increase in military power, resources and wealth in the Asia-Pacific has raised the stakes for its security. Therefore, the security architecture in the region must be open, transparent, balanced and inclusive”.
He said “in our engagement with China, as President Xi and I agreed, we have sought to tap the vast area of commercial and business opportunities in the relationship”.
PM Modi said it is not unnatural, at the same time, for two large neighbouring powers to have some differences. In the management of our relationship, and for peace and progress in the region, both our countries need to show sensitivity and respect for each other’s core concerns and interests.
Welcoming the Prime Minister, ORF Director Sunjoy Joshi pointed out how the people of India elected a new, bold government, headed by Mr Modi, to power in May 2014.
Delivering the vote of thanks, Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar said India wants peace, stability and prosperity in the region but “not the peace of graveyard”.
The opening panel featured Mr Akbar, Nepal’s Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat, former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and former Australian PM Kevin Rudd.
Mr Karzai said the best example of multilateralism with multipolarity is the case of Afghanistan where the US, Russia, China, India and other countries cooperated and worked together for peace and stability. “This is what is desired for the world”, he said, noting this cooperation seems to be disappearing now.
Mr Mahat offered hydro-power partnerships with countries in the region stressing on for improved connectivity and integration for better trade and commerce.
Mr Rudd said the shifts in the US policies towards Russia and China are of great global significance, and the new administration of President Donald Trump may not hesitate to deploy forces in Taiwan in guard against China.
A video message from the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres will be played before the inaugural panel.
More than 250 participants from 65 countries are taking part in this year’s three-day Dialogue. The first edition was attended by 120 participants from 40 countries.