India needs US for its growth: PM

“India is too large a country to be boxed into any alliance or regional or sub-regional arrangements, whether trade, economic or political,” Singh said while inaugurating the combined commander’s conference here on Monday.

To sustain an economic growth of 9-10 per cent, New Delhi requires modern technology, access to markets in advanced countries and sprucing up of its infrastructure. “For all this, we need to maintain healthy relations with all major powers,” Singh said.
The Prime Minister’s comment assumes significance as India prepares to host US President Barak Obama and his Russian and French counterparts Dmitri Medvedev and Nicholas Sarkozy in the next three months.

Many defence and nuclear agreements are to be inked when the world’s three most powerful leaders visit the country. These include setting up of nuclear reactors and purchasing and upgradation of aircraft for the Indian Air Force.

Without mentioning China, both Singh and Defence Minister A K Antony hinted that China’s military assertiveness close to the border was worrisome.

Singh asked the commanders to step up on improving the border infrastructure. “It is necessary to approach this task with a sense of urgency,” he said, adding, securing the maritime boundary would also be given equal importance.

Defence Minister A K Antony echoed the same sentiments when he said: “We cannot lose sight of the fact that China has been improving its military and physical infrastructure. In fact, there has been an increasing assertiveness on part of China.”

Antony said India’s geographical position causes several challenges for the country, at the forefront of which are those emanating from “neighbours who continue to dwell in the past and are keen to foment threats to our national integrity.”

Toughest challenges
Singh too said India’s toughest challenges lie in immediate neighbourhood. “We cannot realise our growth ambitions unless we ensure peace and stability in South Asia,” he said.

Asia’s growing strategic importance was also highlighted. “The Asia-Pacific region, including South East Asia, needs much more attention by us, and this must seep into our defence and foreign policy planning as never before,” he told the audience, which includes the top brass of the Defence, External Affairs and Home Ministry.
DH News Service

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