“The balance of power is vital for this region… Traditionally China has been at the top, but today if it continues to maintain the unilateral assertion of power then there are problems,” Saran said during a discussion on a new book “Looking Ahead: India and Singapore in the new millennium – Celebrating Years of Diplomatic Relations”.
Saran also referred to China’s alleged attempts to bully the regional grouping, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
Saran said: “India and Singapore can play a major role in the balance of power.”
Speaking on the occasion, senior journalist A.K. Bhattacharya, Editor of ‘Business Standard’, said: “Singapore offers a lot of opportunities for India but to make optimum use of the same the ball is in India’s court.”
The book has been brought out by Ananta Aspen Centre in collaboration with the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore.
“The book captures the various shades and stages of development in India-Singapore relations in different spheres, provides an interpretation of these developments in a broader perspective,” a spokesman for the organisers said.
The book has been edited by Bhattacharya, and Prof Tan Tai Young, Member of Parliament and Executive Vice President, Yale-NUS College and Director, Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) at the National University of Singapore.
C. Raja Mohan, an expert on India-Singapore relations and Director of Carnegie India, said: “Singapore’s location itself offers an advantage.” He also welcomed recent initiatives in tapping the potential in India-Singapore relations by the Indian government.
He particularly lauded recent initiatives taken for defence cooperation and maintained that it is heartening to note that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had earlier this month addressed the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
India and Singapore On June 3 held the first dialogue between their defence ministers as both countries agreed to enhance the scale and complexity of existing bilateral military interaction.
“I think we should prepare ourselves better to accept the changing dynamics in foreign relations and the new openness offered by some of the countries including in South East Asia,” Raja Mohan said.