Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked the United States and Europe to come to terms with the rise of Asian economies like India and China. "We need global institutions and global rules of the game that can facilitate the peaceful rise of new nations,” he stated, while delivering the keynote address at the London School of Economics (LSE) Asia Forum in the capital on Thursday.
The prime minister also proposed a thorough overhaul of global institutions like the United Nations (UN), the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to reflect the new reality in the multi-lateral trade and investment, diplomatic and strategic relations.
In effect, he was suggesting a bigger role for emerging large Asian economies - not only China and India, but also Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia - in world affairs.
On the UN, India’s position has been that its functioning should be made more democratic, free from the clutches of a few western economies. On the UNSC, Singh seemed to be reiterating New Delhi's claim for a permanent berth.
On the WTO, Singh cautioned against the possible adverse impact on trade talks if the sensitivities of countries like India and China were not taken on board, even after the collapse of the ministerial summit at Hong Kong five months back.
Providing a larger role for the Asian tigers would also ensure protection of the global environment and security in energy supplies, said Singh.
Singh recalled the breathing space given to Europe for its rejuvenation in the post-war period. Referring to the rise and fall of nations, Manmohan Singh asserted that both India and China were bound to regain their share of the world's GDP lost during two centuries of European colonialism.
Singh noted that China had trebled its share of world GDP over the past two decades, while India has doubled it own. Japan would continue to be at the top in the foreseeable future. New economies in East and South East Asia that are in the process of industrialisation would also grow, even if it at rates lower than those witnessed in the past two decades.
Singh’s statement on Japan assumes significance ahead of his Tokyo visit where New Delhi will consider entering into a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with the host country.
He called upon LSE scholars to ponder over “how the world can accommodate the growth aspirations of the developing world so that the rise of Asia is peaceful”. Singh also pointed to intellectual, technological, organisational and political challenges that would arise with the growth of Asia.
The prime minister suggested that the LSE should come up with a policy formulation to ensure free movement of people across continents and borders that still “remains scanty and patchy”.
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