Millennium Post

India spreads its wings in Asia-Pacific region

India is so situated that it is the pivot of Western, Southern and Southeast Asia. Though not directly a Pacific state, India will invariably exercise an important influence there. India will also develop as the centre of economic and political activity in the Indian Ocean area in the Southeast Asia and right up to the Middle East.’

Jawaharlal Nehru’s words nearly 70 years ago ring true today as Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rounds off his major diplomatic missions with visits to Russia and China this week, after trips to the US and Southeast Asia, indicating the strategic direction of India’s relations with the larger Asia- Pacific region.

Asia-Pacific security figured in his talks with President Barack Obama last month and with East Asia Summit partners like Japan and Australia this month. This will figure again in his talks with President Vadimir Putin Monday as both exchange views on regional and global problems. Russia has put up a proposal to create a security architecture involving the East Asia Summit partners for the region, which has emerged as a vital centre of economic growth and political influence. Russia is seeking to boost its presence in the Pacific, bridge the gap between its own policies toward Asia and Europe, and figure out a way to work with regional players.

‘Russia’s policy in the Asia Pacific is deliberate and focused, aimed at a stable balance of power and the development of truly regional agenda. We are of course already benefiting from our time-tested friendships with China, India and Vietnam,’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this month, adding that Putin has ‘personally signalled his commitment’ to these efforts.

As part of a new charm offensive in the Southeast Asia, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 16th ASEAN-China Summit in Brunei this month proposed cooperation in seven areas, including boosting maritime cooperation and exchanges in the field of security and discussions on signing a Treaty on Good Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation. Earlier in April, President Xi Jinping told the Bao Forum that China will promote friendship and partnership with neighbours.
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