India, China key players globally: Sitharaman

Itanagar: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday said that India and China were the key players in all global developments and issues.

“Today we both cannot deny each other’s significance and dominance, especially in Asia and South East Asia. The need of the hour is to cooperate with each other, resolve all issues through dialogue and progress together. Because of us both, the 21st century is regarded as the Age of Asia,” she said.

Sitharaman was delivering a talk on “Towards bridging the Indo-China Relationship for an Emerging Asia” as part of the 7th Late Rutum Kamgo Memorial Lecture organised by the Arunachal Pradesh Charitable Trust here at Dorjee Khandu State Convention Centre.

Noting that relations between India and China have direct impact on everything global, the Defence minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was giving lot of efforts in improving and sustaining a friendly relationship with China and the situation had improved.

She reiterated Modi’s principle of five S’s – Samman (Respect), Samwaad (Dialogue), Sahyog(Cooperation), Shanti (Peace) that only can usher in Sammriddhi (Prosperity) of the two Asian giants.

“Through dialogues and meetings at the highest levels, a mechanism is being put in place to resolve all issues at the nip and advocated trust and confidence building measures at all levels.”

Sitharaman also delved on the few key fields in which both the countries can cooperate and help each other besides trade.

“We need to compete but it should never end up in conflict,” she added.

Joining the talk, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, said people of Arunachal Pradesh have high expectations from leaders of both the countries, especially Modi, in improving and strengthening India-China relationship.

He also advocated focusing on building relations with ASEAN countries, which he claimed, will benefit the entire North East immensely.

“If there can be trade through Nathu La pass in Sikkim and in Uttarakhand through the Lipukekh pass, why not build the Ledo road (from Assam in India to Kunming in China),” Khandu said.

The Chief Minister pointed that the Ledo Road or the Stilwell Road was the prime mover for cross-border trade and economic integration in the region.

The 1,726-km Stilwell Road was a vital lifeline for the Allied Forces during World War II to free China from Japanese occupation.

Starting from Assam, it cuts through the Pangsau pass in Myanmar to reach Kunming in south China.

Built by Chinese labourers, Indian soldiers and American engineers, it was named after American General Joseph Stilwell who led the task and completed it in 1945 after three years of hard work.

The Stilwell Road on the Indian side is about 60 km long. The major stretch of 1,033 km lies in Myanmar.