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Vinu asked: Given the strategic importance of the Shangri-La dialogue, why did India not take part in this year’s dialogue process?

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  • S.D. Muni replies: It was largely because India's defence minister was on an official visit to Singapore, Thailand and Australia. Conference attendance could not be given priority over official visits to these three important regional countries.

    It could have been possible to depute someone else to participate in the conference, but then on the theme of maritime security and US presence in the region, which were the main themes for Shangri-La 2013, India would have only echoed the points made by Vietnamese and the US representatives. This could have given an impression of ganging up against China. India, at this stage, found it prudent to avoid conveying such an impression.

    I am sure, however, that someone from the Indian High Commission in Singapore attended the conference and sent reports to New Delhi. Otherwise also people like Sanjay Baru, former media adviser to the Indian prime minister, were there as part of the IISS network.