‘Inclusive Asia’ Necessary For Stability In Region: Mathai

November 21, 2011

New Delhi, Nov. 21.2011: Foreign Secretary Mr Ranjan Mathai, on Monday said “India is a meeting point of influences of West, North, East and South East Asia.” Mr Mathai was delivering the key note address at the Fourth MEA-IISS-IDSA Foreign Policy Dialogue on ‘Towards Stability in Asia’, organised at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

Speaking on the occasion, the Foreign Secretary further highlighted the “Importance of developing structures of regional dialogue and cooperation through security and economic architectures aimed at achieving common objectives”.

Speaking on stability in the AF-PAK region, he emphasised on the need for stability at the border and the regions surrounding them for the peace efforts to succeed.

Referring to US Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton’s recent observations on the ‘New Silk Route’ Mr Mathai reiterated that an attempt is being made to seek a consensus on economic cooperation from Turkey to South Asia and from Central Asia to the Gulf, passing through Central Asia, which has been looked upon as the heart of the continent. He further added that the new Silk Route is important for seeking common economic and security structures and lock in the synergies and interdependence.

From India’s point of view the new Silk Route is important for establishing connectivity through Central Asia and beyond and it is in this context that Iran needs to be discussed, he said. Moreover, he stressed on developing common energy, economic and security institutions to harness growth and meet infrastructural needs.

Further, speaking on the issue of terrorism, the Foreign Secretary emphasised that India is amongst the few countries to have preserved the values of democratic and secular institutions, even in the midst of sustained terrorist campaigns and therefore it is important to find institutional mechanisms in the form of policy making decisions to tackle the problem.

Elaborating on India’s role in building Security and Economic structures in South Asia, he spoke about India’s efforts towards national reconstruction in Afghanistan, normalising its relationship with Pakistan through trade and settling many outstanding issues with Bangladesh.

Further, commenting on India’s relations with China, he said, both India and China should compete as well as cooperate with each other and a solution to their problems will lead to strengthening of the Brazil, Russia, India China and South Africa Forum (BRICS). He concluded by emphasising that it was time to dwell on the concept of Inclusive Asia in order to build stability in the continent and the world at large.

Mr Mathai’s address will be followed by three formal sessions of dialogue on ‘Asymmetric Warfare and International Security’, ‘Towards Stability in Pakistan& Afghanistan?’ and ‘Engaging a Rising China’. These sessions were led by Dr. Arvind Gupta, Lal Bahadur Shastri Chair, IDSA, Mr Yash Sinha, Joint Secretary - Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran (MEA) and Mr Gautam Bambawale, Joint Secretary, East Asia, (MEA) respectively.

Fourth in the series, the current edition of the dialogue is a joint initiative of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India, organized in collaboration with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.

From a modest beginning, in early 2007, the dialogue has now become a dynamic platform to facilitate wide-ranging exchanges between scholars and experts from India and abroad.

The 3rd IISS-MEA Foreign Policy Dialogue had taken place in London on 22 February 2010. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao had delivered the Keynote address on ‘Perspectives on Foreign Policy for a 21st Century India’.

Prior to that, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon had addressed the 2nd IISS-MEA Dialogue in New Delhi on 13 December 2007. The 1st IISS-MEA dialogue had taken place in London on 5 February 2007. The keynote address was delivered by the leader of the MEA delegation, Ambassador Arif S. Khan, Additional Secretary (Public Diplomacy), MEA.

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