India cannot grow in isolation, needs growth in connectivity with neighbours: S Jaishankar

New Delhi : Highlighting that India cannot grow in isolation and that cooperation and connectivity with neighbours must grow rapidly, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Saturday said that it is for the Indian diplomacy to address the insecurities and imbalances which have constrained neighbourhood partnerships.

Giving the valedictorian address at the fourth Annual Growth Net Summit here, Jaishankar said that in fashioning the overall approach to the neighbourhood, India has seriously studied more successful experiments in regionalism, in South East Asia and Europe.

“Today, I am glad to inform you that for the first time, India has started supplying electricity to Myanmar – from Moreh to Tamu. The Look East approach then extended beyond to North East Asia that made it even more transformational in terms of trade, tourism and flow of resources,” he said.

Adding that the shift in India’s centre of gravity as a consequence is evident in the revival of India’s eastern coastline, Jaishankar said that this may not have happened if it was not supported by active diplomacy that included stronger bilateral links with ASEAN members, broadening the relationship with China, and raising the quality of ties with Japan and Republic of Korea to a completely new level.

“Attracting investments, technology and best practices from the east, including China, and fashioning an ODA-led investment strategy with Japan hold great potential for India’s higher economic growth. Recent high level interactions have helped strengthen the agenda with many of these nations,” Jaishankar said.

The Foreign Secretary said that with Japan, India is looking at a special finance facility to support ‘Make in India’ business activities and with China, the development of industrial parks and large industrial collaborations are already underway.

“The Korean presence is expected to increase in the infrastructure, energy and ship-building sectors. Singapore would continue to play a key role as a financial and business connector, Malaysia too in infrastructure projects and Indonesia in addressing the growing demand for natural resources. The Nalanda economies will be our key partners in the larger modernization goal,” he said.

Asserting that diplomacy itself has changed the world, Jaishankar said that it has become the norm for high-level engagements to address substantive and even specific economic issues and that when it comes to hardcore economic interests, even nations politically comfortable with each other have no hesitation in underlining their national interest.

Speaking about the role of infrastructure as a major cog in the process of diplomacy, he said that finding international partners for ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Namame Gange’ has been a major exercise and the message of ‘Make in India’ has not only been strongly propagated but is actually being advanced on the ground.

“Human resources being India’s greatest asset, it is about time that we put greater emphasis on its relevance to global economic activity. The orthodox narrative focuses firmly on trade in goods and investment, underplaying that in services. Bringing about a fairer balance should be a clearly defined strategy,” Jaishankar said. (ANI)