Narendra Modi seeks closer ties with China, says Indo-Pacific region not an exclusive club

In his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore as part of his Southeast Asia tour this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed India stands for an open and stable international trade regime

New Delhi, June 2:

India wants an “open and stable” international trade regime that gives a level-playing field to all countries, said PM Narendra Modi in Singapore on Friday as he stressed that his country’s ties with China were improving.

“This is a world of inter-dependent fortunes and failures. No nation can shape and secure 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,” said Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an annual security summit.

“Solutions cannot be found behind walls of protection, but in embracing change. What we seek is a level-playing field for all. India stands for an open and stable international trade regime,” he said.

Modi’s comments on China come amid heightened concern over the Donald Trump administration’s trade policies. The US has imposed tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union with tariffs on steel and aluminium . It has has also imposed traiffs on a range of goods from China, provoking retaliatory measures.

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.

On Thursday, the US renamed its military’s Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific Command, in a move seen as a symbolic acknowledgement of growing defence ties with India.

Modi, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in April, again reached out to the country for greater cooperation.

“I firmly believe that Asia and the world will have a better future when India and China work together in trust and confidence. No other relationship of India has as many layers as our relationship with China,” he said.

“India-China cooperation is expanding. Trade is growing. And, we have displayed maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border. There is growing intersection in our international presence.”

Singapore was the last stop in Modi’s visit to three countries in Southeast Asia this week as part of an “Act East” policy of strengthening relations in the region amid concern over China’s rising maritime influence, in particular in the disputed South China Sea.

Courtesy: Hindustan Times

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