ASEAN summit: Modi hard-sells India as an attractive investment destination

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the ASEAN Business Investment (ABIS) Summit during the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations in metro Manila, Philippines on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Highlighting India’s role in the Indo-Pacific region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of Lord Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi’s tradition of peace, a day after Indian officials joined the quadrilateral grouping that includes Australia, Japan and the United States.

In a meeting with the non-resident Indian community, Mr. Modi said on Monday that India has sacrificed lives for the peace of the world even as he informed U.S. President Donald Trump that India will play a role for the welfare of humanity.

“History does not show us a single incident in which India has done bad things to anyone. During the World War I and the World War II, we did not have any territorial ambition, yet more than 1.5 lakh soldiers of my country sacrificed lives in quest for peace. Because of this sacrifice, any Indian can say with pride that we contribute to the world and do not take anything from the world. For India, the land of Buddha and Gandhi, peace is not just a word, peace is in our veins. And, we certainly have never snatched anything from anybody in the past,” said Prime Minister Modi, speaking in Hindi to a gathering of non-resident Indians living in Philippines.

“I have come to a nation and a region that is very important to India,” he said to a cheering crowd.

Mr. Modi’s comment sets the backdrop of the quadrilateral dialogue that is being interpreted as a move to counter China’s growing might, though Indian officials have strongly stated that they do not wish to target any country through this mechanism. The U.S. official statement issued following Sunday’s talks, hinted at continuing the dialogue process that began on Sunday, but Indian officials did not confirm that. However, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar interpreted the quadrilateral as one of the several such groupings that India is part of. “We do many meetings with many groupings. This is part of the diplomacy that countries do. Chinese also do a quadrilateral with the US. China does a trilateral with Japan and Korea. Diplomacy has a lot of space in between and it is not just for multilateral and bilateral meetings,” said Mr. Jaishankar.

Narendra Modi interacting with the beneficiaries of the ‘Jaipur Foot’ in Manila on Monday.

Narendra Modi interacting with the beneficiaries of the ‘Jaipur Foot’ in Manila on Monday.   | Photo Credit: PTI


Mr. Modi indicated India’s growing ambition to emerge as a global peacekeeping and peace-enforcing power reminding that India recognises the need for peace in the global order.

“If any country in the world is the largest contributor to global peacekeeping, then it is India. In many restive areas of the world, Indian peacekeepers are present,” he said. Interacting with the media, the Foreign Secretary said that peacekeeping in the Southeast Asian region is for the United Nations to decide.

Mr. Jaishankar said a range of issues like the violence in the Rakhine state of Myanmar, the situation in Afghanistan, and India-U.S. defence cooperation were discussed between Mr. Modi and Mr. Trump. “Consequences of the violent outcome of the conflict in the Rakhine province of Myanmar were discussed,” said the Foreign Secretary.

In his meeting with Mr. Trump, Mr. Modi also spoke positively about the commitment of the U.S. leadership to India and said, “Wherever President Trump has travelled in recent days and wherever he had an opportunity to speak on India, he has spoken optimistically and highly. I also assure that India will try its best to fulfil the expectations that the U.S. and the world has from it.”

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 11:41:26 PM |

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