Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Monday said that the intensity of India’s collaborations with ASEAN and East Asia has deepened perceptibly. Speaking at the launch of PHD Ambassador’s Club here, Jaishankar said, “The relationship with ASEAN and East Asia is, of course, inextricably associated with the era of reform. These nations have been agents of change as much as partners in trade or investment.” “The growth of India, its interests and capabilities, have predictably shortened our sense of distance. Today, more than ever before since independence, the extended neighborhood – be it to the East or the West – looms much larger on our radar,” he added.
The Foreign Secretary, while empasising on the collaboration with the neigbouring countries, said, “What has happened more recently is that the intensity of our collaborations has deepened perceptibly, whether it is in the more serious implementation of connectivity projects through Myanmar or infrastructure building in partnership with Japan.” While the upgradation of Look East to Act East policy signifies this shift, which also has its security and strategic dimensions, the Think West initiative is visible in the more substantive economic cooperation with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Iran, amongst others, Jaishankar said.
“Another recent development has been the growing tendency to approach our maritime neighbors in an integrated manner through what Prime Minister enunciated as the SAGAR doctrine,” he further emphasisied. The Foreign Secretary said the national flagship initiatives like Digital India, Skill India, Smart Cities or Start-up India are a core element of country’s diplomatic interactions. “It is a great pleasure to join you all this evening at the launch of the PHD Ambassadors’ Club. This is an occasion to reflect on the interplay of diplomacy and economics, especially business. I thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts in that regard,” Jaishankar concluded.