Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a visit to Singapore, on Friday delivered the keynote address of the Shangri-La Dialogue. This is the first time an Indian Prime Minister addressed the event.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Modi said, “For thousands of years Indians have turned to the east not just to see the sun rise but also to pray for its light to spread over the world.”
Hailing India’s ties with Singapore, the Prime Minister said, “Singapore is our springboard to the ASEAN. It has been, for centuries, a gateway for India to the broader East.”
Focusing on the significance of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), PM Modi also said, “This is a world of inter-dependent fortunes and failures. No nation can shape and secure it 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.”
Further addressing the Shangri-La dialogue, Prime Minister said that he does not see Indo-Pacific region as a strategy or as a club of limited members.
He said, “India stands for a free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific region, which embraces us all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity. It includes all nations in this geography as also others beyond who have a stake in it,” while adding that the destiny of the world will deeply be influenced by developments in the region.
Prime Minister Modi also said, “The Indian Ocean has shaped much of India’s history. It now holds the key to our future. The ocean carries 90 per cent of India’s trade and our energy sources. It is also the lifeline of global commerce.”
Speaking on ties with China, he said that no other relationship of India has as many layers as their relationship with China, adding “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.”
The Prime Minister further said, “I firmly believe that Asia and the world will have a better future when India and China work together in trust and confidence.”
Emphasising on the need for Asian countries to work together, PM Modi said, “Asia of rivalries will hold us back; Asia of cooperation will shape the century.”
“Competition is normal. But, contests must not turn into conflict; differences must not be allowed to become disputes,” he added.
The Prime Minister also said, “We believe that our common prosperity and security require us to evolve, through dialogue, a common rules-based order for the region.”
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also participated in a dialogue titled ‘Transforming Asia through Innovation’ at Singapore’s prestigious Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
PM Modi said every disruption should not be seen as destruction, as he underscored the importance of a technology-driven society in bridging the social divide. Observing that technology is giving voice to millions around the world and helping in breaking social barriers, the Prime Minister also stressed the need for combining innovation with human values to resolve the challenges of the 21st century.
India and Singapore on Friday also agreed to deepen their economic and defence relations. The two countries inked eight agreements including one on logistics cooperation between their navies after wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong. The two leaders also exchanged views on the regional and global challenges and reiterated their principled position on maritime security and expressed commitment to ‘Rules Based’ Order.