New Delhi: India is key to the security of South Asia and could also play a major role in global security, depending on the course of its relations with immediate neighbours China and Pakistan, speakers at a session on regional security at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit said on Friday.
Security is not a just a military issue, but also has an economic, social and environmental dimension, said former US secretary of defence William Cohen.
Security is not limited to a region, but is global in nature, Cohen said.
“I would like to think a butterfly flapping its wings in New Delhi is felt in New York,” Cohen said.
On India’s role, Cohen said New Delhi has to play a bigger role in the region outside of its own borders given its position and potential.
Diplomat-turned-politician Mani Shankar Aiyar said at the session that the key to peace and stability in the region and the world as a whole was dependent on India in a large way. Peace has to be structured on the premise that India’s independence struggle was run on—non-violence, Aiyar said.
Aiyar said the relationship with Pakistan and China was dependent on removing old hostilities. Pakistan needs to understand that it cannot consolidate its nationhood till it gives up this very military idea of India being its enemy, the Congress party politician said.
And India needs to understand that it cannot fully consolidate its nationhood till the hyphenation between Muslims and Pakistan is removed, Aiyar said.
“We should work consciously towards peace,” Aiyar said. “As Nehru believed, India needs to look upon the world with clear, friendly eyes and remove the hostility in the relationships.”
India fought a brief but bitter war with China in 1962 over a border dispute that persists to this day although the two countries have set aside the issue to boost business and economic ties. India and Pakistan have fought four wars since the subcontinent’s independence from British rule in 1947.