Spread of terrorism and violence inspired by “medieval beliefs” as well as threat of use of force by nations in territorial disputes have disrupted connectivity impinging economic growth of the South Asian region, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said today.
In her address at the inaugural session of Raisina Dialogue, a conclave on geo-economics and geo-politics, Swaraj said modernisation of connectivity besides an environment of trust and confidence were integral to growth and development.
Talking about threat of disruption in connectivity, Swaraj said, “In its most radical form, this emanates from the spread of terrorism, which has mutated to keep pace with the march of technology. As a result, we confront the spectre of cyber attacks even as we struggle with violence inspired by medieval beliefs.”
Without naming any country, Swaraj said use or threat of use of force by nations in territorial disputes is another source of concern, adding it remains India’s conviction that the logic of larger regional cooperation will prevail over vested interests.
India has been pushing for improved connectivity among the SAARC countries. A key pact to ensure better connectivity among the nations of the bloc could not be finalised in SAARC summit in Nepal last year due to opposition by Pakistan.
“We bring to bear a cooperative rather than unilateral approach and believe that creating an environment of trust and confidence is the pre-requisite for a more inter-connected world. This is in our DNA; after all, we are the inheritors of two powerful connectivity legacies – the message of Buddha and the Spice Route,” said Swaraj.
The inaugural session was attended by former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, former President of Seychelles James Mancham, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali besides a host of diplomats, intellectuals and foreign policy experts.
The Minister said modernization of connectivity was an integral element of the Asia’s revival.
“Where India itself is concerned, whether it is domestic, external or regional, connectivity will determine how we meet our promise of growth, employment and prosperity. Both literally and metaphorically, it is an enabler of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’!” she said.
Complimenting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Swaraj said there is a widespread impression today that a “decisive, energetic and action oriented” leadership is in charge in India and that since coming to power in May, 2014, the NDA government has brought a “new sense of purpose” to India’s foreign policy.
“As a consequence, India has become a natural participant in most important global conversations,” she said.