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PM’s interview to Bangkok Post on India’s role in the region and the world ahead of Asean related summits in Bangkok

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05 Nov, 19 10:59
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in an interview with Bangkok Post shared his views on India's role in the region and the world, ahead of the 35th Asean Summit and Related Summits, including tomorrow's 16th Asean-India Summit and Monday's3rdRCEPSummit

PM’s interview to Bangkok Post on India’s role in the region and the world ahead of Asean related summits in Bangkok

Transcript of interview Do you think India has become a global power under your leadership? It is well-known that India's is an ancient civilisation with enormous richness and diversity. Till a few hundred years ago, India contributed a major chunk of global growth. It has contributed to the developmentof science,literature,philosophy, art and architecture. In doing all this, it did not seek todominateothersbutbuiltlasting ties across seas and oceans.In the last few years, wehavebeenactively increasing our contribution in the world, be it in the economic sphere or in the fight against climate change, in the field of space or the fight against terror. Today, India is one of the largest contributors to global economic growth and development. The people of India haveamplydemonstratedthat theyaresecondtonone,ifthey get the right environment policies thatenablethemtorealise their true potential. We are running the world's largest campaign to improve the"EaseofLiving"forthepeopleofIndiaandtoimprovetheir productive potential via better infrastructure, better services and better technology. This has been made possible because we have electrified every village; brought over 350 million of our citizens into the banking system; reduced leakage of money in social schemes; built 150 million toilets in rural and urban areas; improved governance by digitising services, made rapid strides to become one of the fastest growing markets for fintech products; and have put the Indian economy in a fast-growthtrajectory.Wehave moved up about 80 places in theWorldBank'sEaseofDoing Business index. And we have done this within a democratic framework and while preserving the best of our heritage. Thereisalargeaspirational middleclassemerginginIndia, which has access to all the basic necessities and is looking to move up the ladder in life. Our mantra is "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas",whichmeansdevelopment for all and with the cooperationandtrustofeveryone. And by everyone, we meannotonlyourowncitizens, but the whole of mankind. Hence, we are actively working to promote development partnerships with all our friendlyneighbours.Andweare seeking to build international partnerships to combat global and trans-boundary challenges. Th e s e i n c l u d e th e International Solar Alliance and an initiative to build a CoalitionforDisasterResilient Infrastructure. India remains a strong advocateof strengtheningand reformingmultilateralismamid contemporaryrealities.Intimes ofglobaluncertainties,arapidly growing, democratic and strong India continues to be a beacon of stability, prosperity and peace. It is said that the 21st centurywillbeAsia's century.India ispreparedtocontributetothis transformation inAsia and the world. What is the importance of Asean to India's Act East Policy? Asean is at the core of our Act East policy. It is the only cooperative mechanism by which we have had uninterruptedsummit-leveldialogues for 16 years so far. This is because theAsean region is not just an important gateway to the Indian Ocean region, and not only because it is civilisationally very close to us. It is also becauseAsean is one of the most economically and politically dynamic regions of the world today. India wishes to see a strong, unified and prosperousAsean playing a central role in the emergingdynamicoftheIndoPacific.This is inthebestinterests of India's prosperity and security as well. Engagement with Asean has been, and will remain, a critical element of India's Act East policy and strategy. Our closecivilisational linksprovide a strong foundation on which we have built a robust, modern and multifaceted strategic partnership. Strengthening Asean, expanding connectivityanddeepeningIndia-Asean economic integration are among key priorities of ourAct East Policy. We are very thankful to Thailand for steering India's close relations with Asean under its leadership of the organisation. What kind of role India would like to play in the regional security architecture? India has outlined its vision forIndo-Pacific,whichisshared by countries of the region as well. This recognises the primacy and the interconnected nature of the oceanic domain. Our views in this regard were articulated by me very clearly at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singaporelastyear.Webelieve thattheregional securityarchitecture forIndo-Pacific should beopen,transparent,inclusive and rules-based, anchored in respect for international law. Astablemaritimesecurityenvironment in the region, including freedom of navigation and over-flight and unimpeded commerce,inaccordancewith international law including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, is essential to any regional security architecture. Ienunciatedtheconceptof SAGAR in 2015. It stands for Security And Growth for All in the Region. "Sagar" in Hindi meanssea.Weseektoachieve this visionbyenhancingmutual trust and expanding security cooperation. India will work towards evolving common perspectives on the regional security architectureandtheprinciples underlining it, and developing a viable institutional framework for addressing common securitychallenges,buildingon the existing frameworks and mechanisms. How can India's IndoPacific synergise with the Asean Outlook on the IndoPacific? We compliment Asean for its own Outlook on the IndoPacific, which has significant convergence with our own Indo-Pacific Vision, especially from the standpoint of principles and approach. We believe that unity and centrality ofAsean must be a key element in developing an IndoPacific vision. This is not only inrecognitionofthegeographic centrality of Asean in this region, but also because Asean-led regional mechanisms -- especially the East AsiaSummit, as the only leaders-led forum -- are the most inclusive fora currently available for discussions on issues of importance to the region. Maritime security, connectivity, economic growth and sustainable development are priority areas both in our and Asean's approaches to build a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.Wewill be glad to work with our partners in Asean to progress partnership in achieving these objectives. Are you concerned about development in the Mekong subregion, where many regional powers are competing? India has a long history of maritime, trade, cultural and civilisational linkswiththecountries of the region. In today's world,wehaverenewedthese links and forged new regional partnerships. The establishment of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperationinitiative19years ago is one such step. India recently joined the Thailand-ledAyeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Co o p e r a ti o n Str a te g y (ACMECS). Here, we bring all the major external partners oftheMekongcountriestogethertobuildsynergiesandavoid duplication of cooperation efforts. At the same time, we are also cognisant of the distinctive identities and focus of these regional frameworks. In the Indian context, for example, we are working with the MekongcountriesintheframeworksofAsean-IndiaDialogue Relations, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) and BIMSTEC. Despite seeming overlaps in themes among these frameworks, the instruments, processes and intensity in cooperation vary. There is ample scope for themultifariousregionalgroupings intheMekongsub-region to harmoniously coexist and seek synergy forprogressand prosperity of the region and also its external partners. How does BIMSTEC fit into the broader Act East Policy? Indiaattachesgreatimportance to the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). It constitutes a unique link between South Asia and SoutheastAsiawithfivememb e r s fr o m So u th As i a (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka) and two fromSoutheastAsia(Myanmar and Thailand).The 4th BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu gave a significant push to regionalcooperation,andtothe strengthening of institutional mechanisms of BIMSTEC, such as mandating the drafting of the BIMSTEC Charter andexploringthepossibility for a BIMSTEC Development Fund. India actively participated in shaping the outcome of the summit. We have announced a number of initiatives to be undertaken by India to advance BIMSTEC cooperation and capacity in diverse areas such as security,disastermanagement,economy and trade, agriculture, health and digital connectivity, as well as activities to promote cultural and youth linkages.Indiafirmlybelieves that BIMSTEC is an important part of our Act East Policy. As readers may be aware, leaders of BIMSTEC countries attended the swearing-in of our new government in its second term at the end of May this year.Thisgreathonourfor us was also a reminder of the close bonds that our countries and their leaders share. I would especially like to mention that Thailand has madeasignificant contribution in strengthening cooperation within BIMSTEC. India is perceived as reluctanttojointheRCEPtradedeal. Do you think RCEP negotiations can be concluded this year, and what has to be done to achieve that goal? India today is one of the most open places in the world to do business. This is reflected in the jumps that we have made in the World Bank's "EaseofDoingBusiness"index from 142 to 63 in the last four to five years.We believe in the power of global trade to integrate economies and uplift the poor. Indiaremains committedto a comprehensive and balancedoutcomefromtheongoing RCEP negotiations. Their successful conclusionis inthe interest of everyone involved. Hence, India seeks balance across goods, services and investments, and also within each pillar.We recognise the high ambitions of our partners on goods. We too would like awin-winoutcome.Webelieve that for this, addressing our concerns over unsustainable trade deficits is important. It needs to be recognised that opening the vast Indian market must be matched by openings insomeareaswhere our businesses can also benefit.We have put forward reasonable proposals in a clear manner and are engaged in negotiationswithsincerity.We would like to see commensurate levels of ambition on services from many of our partners, even as we are ready to address their sensitivities. Overall, we are clear that a mutually beneficial RCEP, in which all sides gain reasonably, is in interests of India and of all partners in the negotiation.


यह खबर निम्न श्रेणियों पर भी है: National News
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