ASEAN PLUS CHINDIA WILL BE A GLOBAL POWERHOUSE: KAMAL NATH
Date : 15 Jun 2006
Location : New Delhi
Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, has said that the ASEAN plus Chindia (China and India) will become a global powerhouse to be reckoned with united in a mutually beneficial relationship. Participating in Roundtable Discussion at the East Asia Summit of the World Economic Forum in Tokyo today on “ASEAN’s Strategic Challenge: How will it compete with Chindia”, he underlined that “ASEAN does not face a threat or a strategic challenge vis-à-vis India and China. The issue at hand is not ASEAN versus Chindia but ASEAN plus Chindia. Given the strengths of ASEAN and the growing muscle of India and China, the scope for constructive cooperation is immense and we believe this is the direction the region should take”. This, he said, would be logical in view of their natural complementarities, since ASEAN had an abundance of natural resources as also significant technological skills, which provided a natural base for the growth of synergies and integration between ASEAN, China and India in both trade and investment.
“We strongly believe the future of Asia lies in ASEAN plus Chindia. Competing for the world’s investment resources individually will certainly bring gains to each country. Competing for them as a regional powerhouse will widen and deepen the advantages of globalisation that will truly make the region what management gurus call ‘The Next Big Thing’,” he said.
Pointing out that a pragmatic search for reciprocal self-interest had, in fact, been the fulcrum of India’s “Look East” policy, he said: “We have already concluded a comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement (CECA) with Singapore and are close to finalising a similar Agreement with ASEAN and Thailand. Such agreements aim to leverage the rich reservoir of talent and resources of the region to pull our economies out of poverty and build a new Asia”.
Earlier, speaking at the Plenary Session of East Asia Summit on “Asia’s Growth Model: Can it Continue to Sustain Itself?”, Shri Kamal Nath answered the question whether the growth momentum in India would continue, and said: “I believe we can. I am convinced that the demographic trends that are emerging will lead to changes in economic policies, and hasten the pace of economic reforms. Over half of the population is less than twenty-five years of age. As this cohort enters the workforce, they will bring a new mindset less attached to older, interventionist policies. They will want India to change and change quickly”.