Event ReportsPublished on Jun 27, 2007
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday (June 27) released the new ORF publication, titled The New Asian Power Dynamic, edited by Mr. Maharajakrishna Rasgotra, Adviser to ORF Chairman and convenor of National Security Advisory Board (NSAB).

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday (June 27) released the new ORF publication, titled The New Asian Power Dynamic, edited by Mr. Maharajakrishna Rasgotra, Adviser to ORF Chairman and convenor of National Security Advisory Board (NSAB).

After releasing the book, the prime minister addressed the distinguished gathering which included the Minister for Panchayati Raj and Northeast Affairs Mr. Mani Shankar Aiyer, the National Security Adviser Mr M K Narayanan, former National Security Adviser Mr. Brajesh Mishra, who is now the Trustee of ORF, former governor Mr Romesh Bhandari and many others.

In his speech the prime minister said the rise of Asian economies in the 21st century would undoubtedly alter the global balance of wealth and power, but this need not worry the West, as a dynamic and prosperous Asia can power global growth and provide new opportunities for growth for the world economy.

The prime minister said the first step towards the orderly progress of Asia should be an informed understanding of each. He regretted that “we Asians often look at each other through borrowed eyes, tinted glasses and distorted mirrors”. He called for better and informed understanding of and between Asian countries.

“We in India need to devote more time and resources in studying the strongest economies of Asia – China, Japan and South Korea,” he said, complimenting the work of ORF and stressing the need for such think tanks.

Underlining the importance of relations with Asian countries, the prime minister said they have already revitalised the SAARC, as shown by the agenda and success of its Delhi Summit, and called for more efforts to realise the full potential of SAARC.

Mr. Rasgotra said he considered United States integral to the Asian scene, and thinks “this century is more going to be an American century in Asia, than an Asian century.”

“History is in the making in Asia where two new powers are rising, China and India, and two others – Japan and Russia – are gathering new strength. The US is, of course, the world’s leading power. This conjunction in close proximity of five powers of such large magnitude is an extraordinary occurrence. Times of such catalytic change are riddled with uncertainty and potential threats to peace,” Mr. Rasgotra said.

Mr. Rasgotra said the new realties underlying Asian politics demanded a collective endeavour on the part of these five powers to create an Asian equilibrium for peace and cooperation.

Welcoming the prime minister, ORF Chairman R.K. Mishra recalled his organisation’s 16-year-long association with Dr. Manmohan Singh, which started soon after he presented his maiden pro-reform budget which “neither the right nor the left” supported. ORF had then organised a seminar in Kolkata (then Calcutta) to bring together the differing opinions with the participation of leaders like then Chief Minister Jyoti Basu.

The New Asian Power Dynamic published by Sage includes 12 papers written by veteran diplomats like K. Raghunath, a former foreign secretary, and M.K. Bhadrakumar, former ambassador to many countries, and academics, examining the unfolding relationships among the five great powers in Asia – the United States, China, India, Japan and Russia.

In his introductory essay in the book Mr. Rasgotra says that China’s massive military modernisation, its South Asia policy, especially its security relationship with Pakistan and its ambitions in the Indian Ocean are major causes for worry.

Mr. Rasgotra says that as far as India is concerned, “of greater concern and mistrust is China’s security relationship with Pakistan, including generous gifts of nuclear weapon-related technologies and materials, modern conventional weapon systems and gestures of support for Pakistan in the latter’s periodic confrontation or conflict with India.”

“Even in the improved climate of Sino-Indian relations, China carried out threatening troop movements along the LAC in Ladakh during the Kargil war to divert India’s attention from the main front,” Mr. Rasgotra, now an adviser to Chairman, ORF, says in support of his concerns.

“Pakistan’s missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons bear close resemblance to Chinese missiles. These policies indicate a design to gain dominance, if not mastery, of South Asia, which India is bound to resent and resist,” says Mr. Rasgotra.

The book also raises concerns over China’s ambitions in the Indian Ocean, describing it “another source of worry”. Though no Chinese territory borders the Indian Ocean, it is now being described in Chinese circles as ‘China’s next frontier’.

Mr. Rasgotra suggests that it would be best for India, which would not wish misunderstandings in this matter to cloud future prospects, and China to candidly discuss China’s South Asia Policy in their ongoing strategic dialogue.

   The text of Prime Minister speech    

   The text of  Mr. Rasgotra’s speech

   The text of  Chairman speech

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