Seoul, Mar 24: Observing that large and dynamic countries like China cannot be contained, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said India aims to have cooperative ties with both Washington and Beijing.
“Our aim is to have cooperative ties with both China and USA. It is not zero-sum game. I do not think that large and dynamic countries like China can be contained,” Singh told South Korean daily ‘JoongAng Ilbo’ ahead of his visit here.
He was replying to a question on whether the US was keeping China in check and had he ever faced situations where he had to choose between China and the US.
“China is our largest neighbour with which we share a long border. It is also our biggest trading partner in goods. With USA, our relations have been transformed in 2005. Three million people of Indian origin live and work in the US,” Singh said.
Singh is in Seoul on a bilateral visit following which he will take part in the Nuclear Security Summit that will be attended by 58 leaders including US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Singh said that India’s relations with the US were transformed in 2005. The two countries had laid the framework forthe India-US civil nuclear agreement in July 2005.
On his meeting with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Singh said he would talk about “giving depth and greater meaning” to the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, strengthen people-to-people contacts, boost cooperation in science and technology, and coordinate thinking in matters relating to security and global events.
“Since this is an occasion which coincides with Nuclear Security Summit, we can work together to promote nuclear security and safety in this world that we live in,” he said.
Singh lauded South Korea’s transformation and its emergence as a vibrant democracy.
He said South Korea, one of the fastest growing economies in the world and a powerhouse of innovation in just two generations, is an inspiration for the whole of Asia. “I am aware of the odds you fought against and the sacrifice you made in the early years of building your nation to gain your prestige and position you enjoy today,” he said.
On delays with regard to the Pohang Steel Co (Posco) industrial project in Odisha, Singh said it was his “sincere hope” that the issues pertaining to the Posco project would be resolved soon to the satisfaction of all parties.
On the issue of red-tapism, the Prime Minister said: “Outside observers often tend to take a narrow view of our economic policies. India is a far more open economy today than it was earlier.”
“We are governed by the rule of law, and as a functioning democracy, we need to be mindful of the concerns and sensitivities of all sections and stake-holders and take their interests into account,” Singh said.
The Prime Minister said that India planned to invest USD one trillion in infrastructure development in areas like highways, airports, power plants, mass transport systems and so on, in next five years.
“We would like to see more South Korean companies come to India and take advantage of our youthful and skilled labour force. Opportunities in India are wide open,” he said.