India provides an intrinsic and important link between the developing and the developed world, and maintains a distinct relationship with the United States and China on individual basis, says External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
"I think, that expectation of India is reflected in people supporting India for a permanent seat in the [United Nations] Security Seat whenever the UN is reformed," he said in an interview with the Institute of South Asian Studies, a think tank of National University of Singapore.
"[This is] because they [people] think we provide intrinsic and important link between the developing world and the developed world," stressed Khurshid in the interview published on Wednesday.
He highlighted India’s relationships in the Group of Twenty, and with Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa. "This is the reflection of a current, contemporary situation in which there are different expectations from India, but still expectations of leadership.
"And, we are trying to fulfill those," added Khurshid.
He pointed out that India has something to do with China, Russia, the United States, Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Among other countries in the world, "I have tried to find a balance approach," he stressed.
Touching on the new Border Defence Cooperation Agreement with China, he said, "It's incremental." "We have understood, and I think China understands this as well, there will not be any dramatic changes in our positions; but incrementally we have to improve, and incrementally we have improved," he said in the interview published in the ISAS newsletter ‘South Asia’.
"This is the latest version of cooperation on the border to prevent any untoward incident becoming an issue between us," he said, referring to India’s new border pact with China.
"So, at the same time, in parallel, we are actually talking in the special representatives [forum]; we have done 16 rounds. We are talking about the basic principles followed by the basic format by which we will be able to find a resolution. We know that it can’t be done in a hurry. China knows it can’t be done in a hurry," he said.
Khurshid pointed out that nothing would prevent rapid engagement with China in any of the other fields in which India has no differences with the neighbouring country. The minister also made it clear that China-India relations were on its own just as US-India relations were on its own, dismissing any suggestion of linkage.
"We will never be allies of the US; we will be friends, strategic partners, not allies. And similarly we will be strategic partners with China; hopefully, we will become friends with China when all our issues are resolved; we have a very good working relationship with them, but we have things to resolve with them," he added.