Prime Minister’s Key Note Address at Shangri La Dialogue
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TOPIC:General Studies 2:
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
- The IISS Asia Security Summit: The Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) is a “Track One” inter-governmental security forum held annually by an independent think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) which is attended by defense ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific states.
- The forum gets its name from the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore where it has been held since 2002.
- Since its launch in 2002 the Dialogue has built confidence and fostered practical security cooperation, by facilitating easy communication and fruitful contact among the region’s most important defence and security policymakers.
- Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to deliver the keynote speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue.
PM Modi’s Address amplified the central and ongoing themes of India’s role on the world stage:
- India’s focus on its own long civilizational history of international engagement—and raising global awareness of that history
- India’s sense of itself as playing a linking role for the larger Indo-Pacific space
- India’s commitment to principles, rule of law, and a theory of equality for nations as part of its general commitment to the liberal international order.
India’s Civilizational Past: Modi invoked India’s maritime history, highlighting the Indus Valley civilization port of Lothal (in his home state of Gujarat) as “among the world’s oldest ports.” He cited Buddhism as a regional link for the Indo-Pacific
Singapore is our springboard to ASEAN: Singapore, for centuries has been a gateway for India to the broader east. For thousands of years Indians have turned to the east not just to see the sunrise but also to pray for its light to spread over the world. We have a growing political, economic and defence ties with each south-east Asian country.
Global transit routes must be peaceful: The ocean carries 90% of India’s trade and our energy sources. It is also the life line of global commerce. 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.
India’s “Act East” policy of stepped-up activity with the ASEAN region: He highlighted India’s work with the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, the Indian Ocean Rim Association, and a series of regional organizations in which India participates: the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (the “Plus” includes countries outside of ASEAN), and ASEAN Regional Forum.
In this presentation, Modi also noted India’s participation in organizations “bridging South and Southeast Asia”: the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation and the Mekong-Ganga Economic Corridor. Our trade in the region is growing rapidly, and a significant part of our overseas investments flow in this direction. ASEAN alone accounts for over 20%.
India and China must work together: With trade between both the countries growing, Indo-China cooperation is expanding. We have displayed maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border. There is growing intersection in our international presence.
Globalisation- Key to development: 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.
PM Modi sees ASEAN as an example and inspiration. 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 open and stable international trade regime.
Equal access as a right: The Prime Minister also called for equal access as a right under international law to the use of common spaces on sea and in the air that would require freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law. Calling for an end to protectionism in this age of globalisation he said that solutions cannot be found behind walls of protection, but in embracing change.
“Asia of rivalry will hold us all back. Asia of cooperation will shape this century.”
Modi specifically affirmed India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific as a “free, open, and inclusive” region, not “directed against any country,” with “Southeast Asia at its center,” and a space that requires a “common rules-based order” that respects “sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as equality of all nations.” He underscored the importance of freedom of navigation and connectivity—and decried protectionism