India's ties with China, Japan important: Saran

The economic, military transformation in the ASEAN countries is already being noticed by the world capitals.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 13:10 IST

Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran has said that it is becoming highly important for India to keep good relations with ASEAN countries, especially China and Japan, so as to retain the spotlight that Asia has been getting.

Speaking after releasing a book titled 'India and Southeast Asia: Towards Security Convergence' Saran said, "The centre of gravity is moving towards Asia, thanks to China, Southeast Asia and India. It is going to be a challenging period."

India's deepening all-round ties with Southeast Asia from the 1990s will contribute to the ultimate emergence of a strong Asia, also involving China and Japan, Saran said.

He said that the transformation, already noted in global capitals, would demand considerable challenges and wisdom on the part of the Indian Government to sustain a momentum that started with New Delhi's Look East policy unleashed in the 1990s.

Referring to China, Saran said that there were "some uncertainties" as well. "But it is becoming more and more important for everyone to understand China, Japan and Southeast Asia."

Saran said that India now feels quite comfortable dealing with countries of Southeast Asia and the reverse, too, was true. He underlined in this context the deep-rooted cultural affinities between India and Southeast Asia.

"You can see the colours and echoes of India in every corner of Southeast Asia. It is not just India. It is a refinement of what was received from India in ancient times. It is a very, very promising and mutually rewarding relationship."

The book has been promoted by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore and is published by the New Delhi-based Capital Publishing Company.

According to the book, a number of important factors in geo-political and geo-economic trends would have a bearing on India's position in the Asia-Pacific region.

These include the continued US domination in terms of security arrangements with a number of countries, China's phenomenal economic and military rise, India's rapidly increasing economic and military strengths and its growing engagement with the ASEAN.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 13:06 IST