Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday became the first Indian Prime Minister to address the ‘Shangri-La Dialogue’ in Singapore since its inaugural edition in 2002.
PM Modi in his speech, reiterated India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific Region as a positive one and said, “Indo-pacific stands for a free, open, inclusive 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.”
“Southeast Asia is at its centre. And, ASEAN has been and will be central to its future. That is the vision that will always guide India, as we seek to cooperate for architecture for peace and security in this region,” he added.
“We believe that our common prosperity and security require us to evolve, through dialogue, a common rules-based order for the region. And, it must equally apply to all individually as well as to the global commons. Such an order must believe in sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as equality of all nations, irrespective of size and strength,” the Prime Minister said.
PM Modi emphasised on the equal access as a right under international law and called for international commitments to be upheld.
“These rules and norms should be based on the consent of all, not on the power of the few. This must be based on faith in dialogue, and not dependence on force. It also means that when nations make international commitments, they must uphold them,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister speaking on relations with China, said “No other relationship of India has as many layers as our relations with China. We are the world’s two most populous countries and among the fastest growing major economies. Our cooperation is expanding. Trade is growing. And, we have displayed maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border,” he said.
Prime Minister Modi, earlier on Friday visited Nanyang Technological University and also awarded Padma Shri award, one of India’s highest civilian awards, to former Singaporean diplomat Tommy Koh.