Prime Minister Modi has delivered the inaugural speech on the second three-day-long Raisina Dialogue meet in New Delhi. On March 1, 2016, Indian Government had started a 3-day international event to consolidate its growing geo-political imprint. Raisina Dialogue is the name of this ambitious event which then featured over 450 participants from 40 countries. Actually, Raisina Dialogue” is fashioned on the lines of the famous annual Shangrila Dialogue held in Singapore where world leaders descend to discuss strategic issues concerning the world. Raisina is the name of the hillock on which Presidential House and the Central Secretariat are located in New Delhi. The theme of the dialogue was “Asia: Regional and Global Connectivity” which tries to capture various facets of these ambitions.
The ambitious event is being organized by the Ministry of External Affairs in association with Indian think tank, ORF focusing on the theme of “India: Regional and Global Connectivity. Raisina Dialogue-II is expected to engage with geopolitics and geo- economics, and designed to explore and examine the prospects and opportunities for Asian integration as well as Asia’s integration with the larger world. As was expected, the Prime Minister touched on the theme of India’s perception of the nature and basis of relationship with her neighbours. Generally speaking, with the change of Governments, no real change takes place in a country’s foreign policy, the norms of which are established over a long period of time on the basis of permanent interests. From the very beginning India has vowed to remain a peaceful country not out of any weakness but the solid belief that war is not the solution of conflicts anywhere in the world. With Pakistan, Modi Government made several serious moves to create harmonious relations because both countries share history and facets of civilization. Pakistan’s unjustified hatred against India and Indian civilization is at the root of Indo-Pak acrimony. Modi took the initiative of inviting Pakistani PM to oath taking ceremony, he made an unscheduled visit to Pakistani Prime Minister, he offered cooperation in talking on bilateral relations and solving outstanding issues including Kashmir. He emphasized that if Pakistan gave up harbouring terror, India would walk two steps towards restoration of normal relations and peace. But alas, Pakistan ignored all these sincere attempts and engineered Pathankot, Udhampur, Uri and other acts of sabotage. Pakistan declined to dismantle terror structure and rein in terrorist and fundamentalist leaders engaged in open anti-India propaganda on Pakistani soil. Despite all these negative activities India still tells Pakistan she will come to the table for talks but with only one condition that Pakistan walk away from terror. The ball is in the court of Pakistan.
Touching on India’s relations with China, Prime Minister Modi said that there exist some differences with China on the subject of border line. He said that his Government wants that both countries should try to understand and respect sensitivities of their people. Our sensitivity is that few are not prepared to compromise on our territorial integrity be it the border in Ladakh or Arunachal Pradesh. China never raised border issues with the British India Government. But now she is vociferously claiming large chunks of territories because she is historically motivated by urge for grabbing more and more land of neighbours. But not giving it unnecessary media hype, India has tried to explore other areas of joint effort and we see that there is response from China. Trade relations between the two countries have grown and more attempts would be made to expand the areas that are outside the ambit of bilateral dispute. The two countries have to realize that they can be the leaders in Asia and hence important link in developing Asian connectivity and relationship that could become model for other regions of the world.
India has very cordial relations with Afghanistan and the basis of this relationship is India’s commitment to help that country build its infrastructure and raise the standard of living of the people. Unfortunately, a neighbouring country has played very negative role in Afghanistan with the result that Afghanistan has become a house divided against it. This policy needs to be changed and areas of mutual cooperation, trade, commerce and good neighbourly relations have to be explored and expanded. India would welcome any step from any quarter that contributes to the ideology of peace and progress. Modi also made a mention of Nepal and Sri Lanka and said India understands their compulsions and the type of support they expect from New Delhi. Relations with both the countries are very cordial and there is no area of dispute on any subject whatsoever. He made special mention of Bangladesh saying that he understands the situation in Bangladesh and the contribution of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in mending the fence with India. India would strengthen democratic and liberal forces in Bangladesh and ensure that nothing is done on her side to endanger cordial relations with Bangladesh.
Actually, if we read between the lines of the Prime Minister, we shall find that he has been speaking of broad contours of India’s current foreign policy and the vision which he has of India of next decades. India has a role because of her geopolitical and geo-economic features. A country of a hundred and twenty five millions has a role that can impact most of the neighbouring countries and also other parts in the world. Therefore, India is trying to assure her neighbours that without any hegemonic ambitions, he would take more steps to cement relations with India’s Asiatic neighbours.