Ladies & Gentlemen,
Today seems to be a day of speeches. Just a while ago we heard President
Xi and Prime Minister May. Here I am with my words. Perhaps an overdose
for some. Or a problem of plenty for 24/7 News Channels.
It is a great privilege to speak to you at the inauguration of the
second edition of the Raisina Dialogue. Excellency Karzai Prime Minister
Harper, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, it is a pleasure to see you in Delhi.
Also, a warm welcome to all the guests. Over the next couple of days,
you would hold numerous conversations on the state of the world around
us. You would debate its certainty and prevailing flux; its conflicts
and risks; its successes and opportunities; its past behaviours and
likely prognosis; and its potential black swans and the New Normals.
In May 2014, the people of India also ushered in a New Normal. My fellow
Indians spoke in one voice to entrust my government with a mandate for
change. Change not just of attitudes but of mindsets. Change from a
state of drift to one of purposeful actions. Change to take bold
decisions. A mandate in which reform would not be enough unless it
transforms our economy and society. A transformation that is embedded in
the aspiration and optimism of India’s youth, and in the boundless
energy of its millions. Every day at work, I draw on this sacred energy.
Every day at work, my ‘to do list’ is guided by the constant drive to
reform and transform India, for prosperity and security of all Indians.
I am aware that India’s transformation is not separated from its
external context. Our economic growth; the welfare of our farmers; the
employment opportunities for our youth; our access to capital,
technology, markets and resources; And, security of our nation all of
them are deeply impacted by developments in the world. But, the reverse
is also true.
The world needs India’s sustained rise, as much as India needs the
world. Our desire to change our country has an indivisible link with the
external world. It is, therefore, only natural that India’s choices at
home and our international priorities form part of a seamless continuum.
Firmly anchored in India’s transformational goals.
India is pursuing its transformation in unsettled times, which is
equally the result of human progress and violent turmoil. For multiple
reasons and at multiple levels, the world is going through profound
changes. Globally connected societies, digital opportunities, technology
shifts, knowledge boom and innovation are leading the march of humanity.
But, sluggish growth and economic volatility are also a sobering fact.
Physical borders may be less relevant in this age of bits and bytes.
But, walls within nations, a sentiment against trade and migration, and
rising parochial and protectionist attitudes across the globe are also
in stark evidence. The result, Globalization gains are at risk and
economic gains are no longer easy to come by. Instability, violence,
extremism, exclusion and transnational threats continue to proliferate
in dangerous directions. And, non-state actors are significant
contributors to the spread of such challenges. Institutions and
architectures built for a different world, by a different world, are
outdated. Posing a barrier to effective multilateralism. As the world
begins to re-order itself a quarter century after the strategic clarity
of the Cold War, the dust has not yet settled on what has replaced it.
But, a couple of things are clear. The political and military power is
diffused and distributed The multi-polarity of the world, and an
increasingly multi-polar Asia, is a dominant fact today. And, we welcome
Because, it captures the reality of the rise of many nations. It accepts
that voices of many, not views of a few should shape the global agenda.
Therefore, we need to guard against any instinct or inclination that
promotes exclusion, especially in Asia. The focus of this conference on
Multilaterism with Multipolarity is thus timely.
We inhabit a strategically complex environment. In the broad sweep of
history, the changing world is not necessarily a new situation. The
crucial question is how do nations act in a situation where the frames
of reference are shifting rapidly. Our choices and actions are based on
the strength of our national power.
Our strategic intent is shaped by our civilizational ethos of:
· यथार्थवाद (realism),
· सह-अस्तित्व (co-existence)
· सहयोग (cooperation),तथा
· सहभागिता (partnership).
This finds expression in a clear and responsible articulation of our
national interests. The prosperity of Indians, both at home and abroad,
and security of our citizens are of paramount importance. But, self
interest alone is neither in our culture nor in our behavior. Our
actions and aspirations, capacities and human capital, democracy and
demography,and strength and success. will continue to be an anchor for
all round regional and global progress. Our economic and political rise
represents a regional and global opportunity of great significance. It
is a force for peace, a factor for stability and an engine for regional
and global prosperity.
For my government, this has meant a path of international engagement
· Rebuilding connectivity, restoring bridges and rejoining India with
our immediate and extended geographies.
· Shaping relationships networked with India’s economic priorities.
· Making India a human resource power to be reckoned with, by connecting
our talented youth to global needs and opportunities.
· Building development partnerships that extend from the islands of the
Indian Ocean and Pacific to the islands of the Caribbean and from the
great continent of Africa to the Americas. · Creating Indian narratives
on global challenges.
· Helping re-configure re-invigorate and rebuild global institutions and
organizations. · Spreading the benefits of India's civilizational
legacies, including Yoga and Ayurveda, as a global good. Transformation,
therefore, is not just a domestic focus. It encompasses our global
For me, Sab Ka Saath; Sab Ka Vikas is not just a vision for India. It is
a belief for the whole world. And, it manifests itself several layers,
multiple themes and different geographies.
Let me turn to those that are closest to us in terms of geography and
shared interests. We have seen a major shift towards our neighbours
captured in our determined "Neighbourhood-first" approach. The people of
South Asia are joined by blood, shared history, culture, and
aspirations. The optimism of its youth seeks change, opportunities,
progress and prosperity. A thriving well-connected and integrated
neighbourhood is my dream. In the last two and half years, we have
partnered with almost all our neighbours to bring the region together.
Where necessary, we have shed the burdens of our past for the
progressive future of our region. The result of our efforts is there to
In Afghanistan, despite distance and difficulties in transit, our
partnership assists in reconstruction, by building institutions and
capacities. In the backdrop, our security engagement has deepened. The
completion of Afghanistan's Parliament building and the
India-Afghanistan Friendship Dam are two shining examples of our
dedication to forge developmental partnership.
With Bangladesh, we have achieved greater convergence and political
understanding, through connectivity and infrastructure projects, and
significantly, the settlement of the land and maritime boundaries.
In Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives, our overall engagement in
infrastructure, connectivity, energy and development projects is a
source of progress and stability in the region.
My vision for our neighbourhood puts a premium on peaceful and
harmonious ties with entire South Asia. That vision had led me to invite
leaders of all SAARC nations, including Pakistan, for my swearing in.
For this vision, I had also travelled to Lahore. But, India alone cannot
walk the path of peace. It also has to be Pakistan's journey to make.
Pakistan must walk away from terror if it wants to walk towards dialogue
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Further west, we have redefined, in a short span of time, and despite
uncertainty and conflict, our partnerships with Gulf and West Asia,
including Saudi Arabia, U.A.E, Qatar and Iran. Next week, I will have
the pleasure to host His Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, as the
Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day. We have not just focused on
changing the perception. We have also changed the reality of our ties.
This has helped us protect and promote our security interests, nurture
strong economic and energy ties and advance the material and social
welfare of around 8 million Indians. In Central Asia too, we have built
our ties on the edifice of shared history and culture to unlock new
vistas of prosperous partnership. Our membership of the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization provides a strong institutional link to our
engagement with Central Asian nations. We have invested in all round
prosperity of our Central Asian brothers and sisters.
And, have brought about a successful reset to longstanding relationships
in that region.To our east, our engagement with South East Asia is at
the centre of our Act East Policy. We have built a close engagement with
the institutional structures in the region such as the East Asia Summit.
Our partnership with ASEAN and its member countries has served to
enhance commerce, technology, investment, development, and security
partnerships with the region. It has also advanced our broad strategic
interests and stability in the region. In our engagement with China, as
President Xi and I agreed, we have sought to tap the vast area of
commercial and business opportunities in the relationship. I see the
development of India and China as an unprecedented opportunity, for our
two countries and for the whole world. At the same time, it is not
unnatural for two large neighbouring powers to have some differences. In
the management of our relationship, and for peace and progress in the
region, both our countries need to show sensitivity and respect for each
other's core concerns and interests.
Prevailing wisdom tells us that this century belongs to Asia. The
sharpest trajectory of change is happening in Asia. There are large and
vibrant pools of progress and prosperity that spread across the
landscape of this region. But, rising ambition and rivalries are
generating visible stress points. The steady increase in military power,
resources and wealth in the Asia-Pacific has raised the stakes for its
security. Therefore, the security architecture in the region must be
open, transparent, balanced and inclusive. And, promote dialogue and
predictable behavior rooted in international norms and respect for
Over the past two and a half years, we have given a strong momentum to
our engagement with the United States, Russia, Japan and other major
global powers. With them, we not only share a desire to cooperate. We
also hold converging views on opportunities and challenges that face us.
These partnerships are a good fit with India's economic priorities and
defence and security. With the United States, our actions have brought
speed, substance and strength to the entire spectrum of our engagement.
In my conversation with President-elect Donald Trump, we agreed to keep
building on these gains in our strategic partnership. Russia is an
abiding friend. President Putin and I have held long conversations on
the challenges that confront the world today. Our trusted and strategic
partnership, especially in the field of defence has deepened.
Our investments in new drivers of our relationship, and the emphasis on
energy, trade, and S&T linkages are showing successful results. We also
enjoy a truly strategic partnership with Japan whose contours now
stretch to all fields of economic activity. Prime Minister Abe and I
have spoken of our determination to intensify our cooperation further.
With Europe, we have a vision of strong partnership in India’s
development, especially in knowledge industry and smart urbanization.
India has for decades been at the forefront of sharing our capacities
and strengths with fellow developing countries. With our brothers and
sisters in Africa, we have further strengthened our ties in the last
couple of years. And, built meaningful development partnerships on the
solid foundation of decades of traditional friendship and historical
links. Today, the footprint of our development partnership stretches all
across the globe.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
India has a long history of being a maritime nation. In all directions,
our maritime interests are strategic and significant. The arc of
influence of Indian Ocean extends well beyond its littoral limits. Our
initiative of SAGAR - Security And Growth for All in the Region is not
just limited to safe-guarding our mainland and islands. It defines our
efforts to deepen economic and security cooperation in our maritime
relationships. We know that convergence, cooperation, and collective
action will advance economic activity and peace in our maritime region.
We also believe, that the primary responsibility for peace, prosperity
and security in the Indian Ocean rests with those who live in this
region. Ours is not an exclusive approach. And, we aim to bring
countries together on the basis of respect for international law. We
believe that respecting Freedom of Navigation and adhering to
international norms is essential for peace and economic growth in the
larger and inter-linked marine geography of the Indo-Pacific.
We appreciate the compelling logic of regional connectivity for peace,
progress and prosperity. In our choices and through our actions, we have
sought to overcome barriers to our outreach to West and Central Asia,
and eastwards to Asia-Pacific. Two clear and successful examples of this
are the tripartite agreement with Iran and Afghanistan on Chabahar; and
our commitment to bring on line the International North South Transport
Corridor. However, equally, connectivity in itself cannot override or
undermine the sovereignty of other nations.
Only by respecting the sovereignty of countries involved, can regional
connectivity corridors fulfill their promise and avoid differences and
True to our traditions, we have shouldered the international burden of
our commitments. We have led assistance and relief efforts in times of
disaster. We were a credible first responder during the earthquake in
Nepal, evacuation from Yemen and during humanitarian crises in the
Maldives and Fiji. We have also not hesitated in shouldering our
responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.
We have increased collaboration on coastal surveillance, white shipping
information and fighting non-traditional threats like piracy, smuggling
and organized crime. We have also shaped alternative narratives on long
standing global challenges. Our strong belief in delinking terrorism
from religion, and rejecting artificial distinctions between good and
bad terrorism, are now a global talking point. And, those in our
neighbourhood who support violence, encourage hatred, and export terror
stand isolated and ignored. On the other pressing challenge of global
warming, we have moved into a leading role. We have an ambitious agenda
and an equally aggressive target to generate 175 giga watts from
renewable energy. And we have already made a good start. We have shared
our civilizational traditions to promote harmonious living with nature.
We also brought the international community together to create an
International Solar Alliance, to harness the energy of sun to propel
human growth. A high point of our efforts has been the revival of
international interest in the cultural and spiritual richness of India’s
civilizational stream. Today, Buddhism, yoga and Ayurveda are recognized
as invaluable heritage of humanity as a whole. India will celebrate this
common heritage every step of the way. As it builds bridges across
countries and regions and promotes overall well-being.
Ladies & gentlemen,
In conclusion, let me say this. In connecting with the world, our
ancient scriptures have guided us.
Rig Veda says,
आ नो भद्रो : क्रत्वो यन्तु विश्वतः Means: "Let noble thoughts come to me
from all directions”.
As a society, we have always favoured needs of many over the want of
one.And, preferred partnerships over polarization. We hold the belief
that success of one must propel the growth of many. Our task is cut out.
And, our vision is clear. Our journey of transformation begins at home.
And, is strongly supported through our constructive and collaborative
partnerships that span the globe. With resolute steps at home, and
expanding network of reliable friendships abroad, we will grasp the
promise of a future that belongs to over a billion Indians. And in this
endeavor, you will find in India, my friends, a beacon of peace and
progress, stability and success, and access and accommodation.
Thank you very much.