India No Longer A reluctant Engager, Says Deputy NSA

February 13, 2015

New Delhi: The 17th Asian Security Conference on ‘Asian Security: Comprehending the Indian Approach’ concluded today with Deputy National Security Advisor, Dr Arvind Gupta categorically stating that “India is not a reluctant engager any more” and is engaging more proactively across the geo-political spectrum. The process has just begun and will deepen quite significantly over the years, he said. Dr Gupta was delivering the valedictory address at the concluding day of the conference organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) from February 11-13, 2015.

Dr Gupta, while rounding up the three day conference, chalked out the visible trends of India’s foreign policy in the recent years. India is making significant efforts in assessing the current trends in the world and is willing to engage on regional and global projects, he said. India realises the importance of proactive international cooperation to combat increasing tensions and turmoil in the world, added Dr Gupta.

Commenting on the direct linking of India’s domestic interests with its foreign policy, Dr Gupta said that the idea has been positively received and many countries have shown interest in cooperating with India, giving a new meaning to bilateral relations.

Further, India’s foreign policy has witnessed an increased emphasis on sub-regional cooperation, said Dr Gupta, adding that India should also work on connectivity and overcome geographical barriers in dealing with Central and West Asia.

Reflecting on the role that the Indian Diaspora occupies in India’s Foreign Policy, the Deputy NSA said that the declaration of June 21 as the ‘International Yoga Day’ by the United Nations is a clear indicator of India’s growing power and the influence of its Diaspora.

Speaking on maritime security, Dr Gupta said that India is willing to work with like-minded partners to guard the interests of global commons. Cyber security is another area where the world is willing to cooperate with India, concluded Dr Gupta.

While, discussing the future trends and scenarios of Asian security, the experts agreed that with the emergence of new regional powers the uni-polar world is now coming to an end. New power centres are likely to dominate the global geopolitics of the world.

Speaking about the role that India can play in such a scenario, they insisted that India should follow its policy of fruitful and non confrontational relations with other nations of the region, but should aim to revitalize its strategic partnerships with other major global actors.

Earlier, while discussing the major strategic regions of Asia, the experts insisted that India must contemplate on regional constructs to strengthen its future geo-strategic position. They argued that India’s approach to the region is dominated by the ‘China factor’. Post Cold War era also sees India’s growing emphasis on SAARC.

Reflecting on India’s relations with ASEAN nations, the experts felt that there the focus of India-ASEAN relations has moved from economic to security and strategy. India has bilateral and multilateral linkage with ASEAN, starting with land connectivity and is increasing defence relations with individual ASEAN nations, said the experts, adding that India also needs to re-calibrate its position in Southeast Asia, following changes within ASEAN.