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Peace in Asia: India wants to work with China

By Raghavendra in Beijing
June 06, 2008 12:40 IST
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India on Friday said it wants to work with China to ensure peace and stability in Asia and 'beyond' by evolving a new 'security architecture' and restructuring of UN and other global political and economic institutions to bring them in line with current realities.

"An open and inclusive architecture, which is flexible enough to accommodate the great diversity that exists in Asia, is needed," External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told students and scholars at the prestigious Peking University in Beijing.

The minister opposed creation of 'sub-regional security arrangements that are narrow and ultimately ineffective'.

"We cannot transplant ideas from other parts of the world," Mukherjee said a day after holding wide-ranging talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi.

In his speech on India's Foreign Policy, he said: "We already have some dialogue forums in place, such as ARF (ASEAN Regional forum), the CICA (Confidence-Building Measures in Asia) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation), where we are discussing security issues."

As two major countries in Asia, India and China should try to work together to evolve a new framework 'from these basic building blocks', he said.

"I have no doubt that they will help us address our common concerns, such as the security  of the sea lanes of communication, which are critical to trade and energy flows in our region and on which the future of our two countries will depend," he told the audience.

"We should work together towards peace, security and stability in Asia and beyond. For this, we will need to evolve a security architecture which takes into account the conditions prevailing in Asia," Mukherjee said.

As two large Asian states and as two of the fastest growing emerging economies of the world, 'cooperation between India and China transcends the bilateral sphere', he said, adding, "Indeed, it has global significance".

Mukherjee said both the countries also need to work together with other countries towards mutually beneficial economic globalisation that would draw on the dynamism and potential of India and China.

In this context, he said both countries must ensure that regional integration processes were inclusive so that they could contribute towards building an Asian Economic Community that 'is open, transparent and inclusive, and that provides a platform to create ever widening economic opportunity'.

"I believe such a path will be in our mutual interest," he said.

Global governance structures -- be they in the political domain, such as the UN, or the economic domain, such as the IMF and World Bank -- were still based on a world order that 'is a 60-year-old relic' from the middle of the last century, Mukherjee said.

There was an urgent need to restructure and democratise these global institutions to attune them to the realities of the day, the minister, who is on a four-day visit to the country, he added.

"It is important for India and China to work together to achieve this objective and give substance to the idea that both of us have a common responsibility and a common interest in shaping our world in the future.

"When both of us define our interactions with each other and with the rest of the world in global terms, we will be fulfilling the promise in our relationship and resume our historical role for contributing to humanity's future," the minister said.


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Raghavendra in Beijing
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