Asia-and integrated security zone - Kadirgamar
9, 2004 -
Affairs Advisor to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and former
Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, has said that South Asian countries
must show concern for India's security.
"Each of us must
always have an abiding concern for India's security," Kadirgamar told
He said the centrality
of India in the South Asian region was an entrenched fact and could not be
Explaining the concept
of the centrality of India, he said that no two South Asian countries would
be able to interact directly with each other without touching or crossing
Indian land, sea or air space. India, he said, was the only country, which
shared borders with other South Asian countries (except the Maldives).
Also, with each of her
neighbours, India has special ties, of ethnicity, language, culture and
kinship or of common historical experience. There was shared dependence on
vital natural resources, of a character not shared by any two other
countries in the region, Kadirgamar said.
"No other region
in the world presents such an integrated security zone. It is unique,"
And given her
preponderance and centrality within the region, it would be surprising and
wholly illogical if India did not see its security in South Asian regional
terms. Any unfriendly, alien influence in any part of the region could quite
justifiably be viewed with concern by India, Kadirgamar said.
He pointed out that
besides being central to the region, India was also the most powerful South
Asian nation. Perhaps even more significantly, there was no other neighbour
equally powerful to countervail India.
These were facts,
which other South Asian nations should not ignore, Kadirgamar said. However,
he made it clear that he was not thinking of a one-sided relationship when
he pleaded for a recognition of India's centrality and the need to
accommodate its national security concerns.
said, had a special responsibility towards it neighbours, as enunciated by
former Indian Foreign Minister IK Gujral, through the "Gujral
Speaking at the Royal
Institute of International Affairs in London in 1996, Gujral had said that
India did not ask for reciprocity vis-...-vis neighbours like Nepal,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, but gave all that it could in
good faith and trust.
To this Kadirgamar
added: "Correspondingly, India's neighbours must reflect India's
concerns. Appreciation of India's concept of non-reciprocity or generosity
must be expressed and acted upon. More specifically, each of us must always
have an abiding concern for India's security."
Kadirgamar said there
was an "increased awareness" that the security of the Indian
subcontinent was an "integer" - a whole, a thing complete in
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Date: January 09, 2004 -8.45