Respect our core interests: PM Modi tells China

PM Modi noted that a multilateral world needed India as much as India needed the world.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday called on neighbour China to respect India’s core concerns and interests,  as he kicked off an annual international conference in capital New Delhi.

These are the first public comments made by the Indian head since Beijing vetoed India’s bid to sanction Pakistan-based terrorist Masood Azhar at the United Nations last month.

“In the management of our relationship, and for peace and progress in the region, both our countries need to show sensitivity and respect for each other’s core concerns and interests,” Modi said during his keynote speech at the opening day of Raisina Dialogue, a geopolitical conferences organised annually in India by foreign policy think tank Observer Researcher Foundation (ORF).

Last year, China also vetoed India’s entry into the international elite nuclear grouping Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). China at the time had based its rejection of India’s NSG bid on New Delhi not being signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a 1968 international agreement aimed at keeping the global nuclear stockpile in check.

The Prime Minister also called out Pakistan during his speech, saying that India was ready to engage in peace talks with its western neighbour but it had to give up supporting “terror”.

Modi said India’s domestic policies are closely linked to its foreign relations. “India’s transformation is not divorced from its external context. Our desire to change our country has an indivisible link with the external world.”

During his address, the Indian leader also noted that India and the broader world were entering a phase of multilateralism, an apparent reference to the economic rise of India’s neighbour China and its economic and military competition with America. Modi made a special reference to Asia, the region where the competition for global hegemony between China and the US is playing out more prominently than other parts of the world.

Modi also said that India and Russia continued to be “abiding” friends, remarks seen as an attempt to dispel a growing perception that Moscow is inching closer to India’s foe Pakistan, in reaction to New Delhi’s growing ties with the US.

Some excerpts of Modi’s speech, as tweeted by India’s foreign affairs spokesperson,