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Asia must not have two faces: PM

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Seoul:  Warning that “rivalries” will hold Asia back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said countries of the region should collectively tackle challenges like terrorism, an endeavour in which India will assume its responsibility.

“If Asia must rise as one, Asia should no longer think of itself in regional fragments,” Modi said addressing the Asian Leadership Forum in South Korean capital Seoul.

“Asia of rivalries will hold us back. Asia of unity will shape the world,” he said while making a strong pitch for collective efforts by the regional countries for prosperity and inclusive growth.

The Prime Minister said it was the “collective task” of countries in the region to fight against the common challenges of terrorism, trans-national crimes, natural disasters and diseases.

“Asia must not have two faces – one of hope and prosperity, the other of want and despair.

“It must not be a continent of nations on the rise and others in decline, of regions with stability and others with broken institutions,” said the Prime Minister, who wrapped up his three-nation visit here that also took him to China and Mongolia.

“Today what happens in West Asia has a strong impact on East Asia,” he said, apparently referring to the protracted conflict zone and its fallout in other parts.

“And what happens on the oceans will have influence on the Asian highlands,” he said, adding, “We must do everything possible to secure lasting peace and stability for Asia”.

The Prime Minister told the Forum attended by South Korean President Park Geun-hye and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, that India, located at Asia’s crossroads, would assume its responsibility to build an “inter-connected Asia”.

“Asia of dynamism, but also of uncertainties must lead in shaping its course. But, Asia of growing weight will also have to take greater responsibility for the world,” he said.

In the backdrop of India making a strong pitch for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, Modi said, “We must work as Asians to reform the global institutions of governance, including the UN and its Security Council”.

Asserting that India’s potential had never been in doubt, the Prime Minister said, “in the course of the past year, we are translating promise into reality, hope into confidence”.

India’s growth, he said, has rebounded to 7.5 per cent per year and the prospects of further increase are strong.

“The world speaks in one voice that India is the new bright spot of hope for our region and the world,” he said, noting that India’s progress will be an Asian success story and “make our Asian dream a bigger reality”.

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