Regarding India’s relationship with China, Dr. Manmohan Singh expressed hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take all necessary steps to safeguard India’s regional and sovereign integrity.
New Delhi: Ahead of the mega G20 summit of world leaders, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in an interview with The Indian Express, stated, “India has done the right thing by prioritizing its sovereignty and economic interests while calling for peace.” He is currently in Delhi for the summit and also cautioned against using foreign policy for domestic politics.
According to sources, Dr. Manmohan Singh, who served as Prime Minister for two terms under the Congress party’s leadership between 2004 and 2014, is among the invited leaders at the G20 dinner on Saturday evening.
Speaking to The Indian Express about India’s G20 chairmanship, Dr. Singh said that in comparison to his time, foreign policy has become even more critical for domestic politics. He emphasized the importance of exercising restraint when using diplomacy and foreign policy for party or individual gains.
“I am delighted that India has had the opportunity to host the G20 chairmanship repeatedly during my lifetime, and I am a witness to India hosting the world leaders for the G20 summit. While foreign policy has always been a vital element of India’s governance structure, it is apt to say that today it has become even more relevant and important than ever for domestic politics. While India’s position in the world should ideally be a bipartisan issue, exercising restraint while employing diplomacy and foreign policy is equally crucial. Politics,” said the 90-year-old former PM.
Commenting on the government’s robust diplomatic approach to the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Dr. Singh commended their “right steps.”
“When two or more powers get entangled in a conflict, it puts significant pressure on other countries to choose sides. I believe India has done the right thing by prioritizing our sovereignty and economic interests while calling for peace. The conception of the G20 was never intended to serve as a platform for resolving security-related disputes. It is essential for the G20 to focus on policy coordination to address challenges related to climate, inequality, and global trade,” he added.
Regarding India’s relations with China and not participating in President Xi Jinping’s summit, he expressed hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would take all necessary steps to safeguard India’s regional and sovereign integrity but indicated that he would not offer advice to the government.
“Providing advice to the Prime Minister on handling complex political matters is not right for me. It is unfortunate that Chinese President Xi Jinping decided not to participate in the G20 summit. I hope and trust that the Prime Minister will consider the importance of protecting India’s regional and sovereign integrity and taking necessary steps to reduce bilateral tensions,” said the experienced Congress leader.
Reflecting on India’s celebration of 75 years of independence and addressing future challenges, Dr. Singh said he was “more optimistic than worried,” although he cautioned against complacency.
“Overall, I am more hopeful about India’s future than anxious. However, my optimism depends on India being a cohesive society that serves as the foundation for all progress and development. India’s inherent diversity should be embraced and celebrated, as it must be. It is unfortunate that Chinese President Xi Jinping has decided not to participate in the G20 summit. I hope and trust that the Prime Minister will consider the importance of protecting India’s regional and sovereign integrity and taking necessary steps to reduce bilateral tensions,” said the two-time former Prime Minister.
Dr. Singh also praised India’s space agency, ISRO, for the successful landing of Chandrayaan on the moon during his tenure as Prime Minister. Chandrayaan 1 was launched while he was in office.
“It is a matter of great pride that India’s scientific establishment has once again demonstrated its capabilities to the world by becoming one of the best, launching Chandrayaan-2 to land on the lunar south pole. Our efforts in promoting scientific thinking in society and building institutions in the last seven decades have yielded substantial benefits and made us proud. I am truly excited that the Chandrayaan mission, launched in 2008 during my tenure, has reached new heights by reaching the lunar south pole. My heartiest congratulations to all the men and women of ISRO,” he said.
Discussing economic challenges and India’s position, Dr. Singh shed light on how foreign trade increased during his tenure. He highlighted that this played a crucial role in integrating India’s economy with the global market.
“Between 2005 and 2015, India’s foreign trade doubled as a share of total domestic production, which greatly benefited us by lifting millions of people out of poverty. This also means that India’s economy is much more integrated with the global economy. During the 2008 financial crisis, the G20 did an excellent job of coordinating policy responses, strengthening the world,” he concluded.