Washington: Acknowledging China`s powerful presence in South Asia, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon asserted that India`s plays a role of equal degree in
"Of course China has a presence in South Asia. It has (been there) for a long time...We have a presence in East Asia for a long time. And that`s fact," he said, while responding
to questions on emergence of China as a powerful force in South Asia and its interference in the region.
"But that presence has changed as we evolved – as China`s presence has changed, as we have changed, as East Asia has changed. And we would continue to do so.
"I think we have long enough tradition of statecraft comfortable to be able to deal with," Menon said.
He argued that the presence of India and China is not limited to a particular region, but they are emerging as global powers.
"On the Chinese role in South Asia and the Indian role in South East Asia, the whole point of today`s world is that you can`t draw artificial boundaries that these are not powers who are limited to some little geographical area."
Emphasising on peaceful co-existence and development, the official said, "We have global interest, Chinese have global interest, all of us do...All the major powers as I said are not only inter-dependent on each other, but also are dealing with each other across a whole range of issues.
"None of which recognise some artificial geographical construct like South Asia or East Asia, these are interlocking circles about security or prosperity, whichever way you look
Menon noted that the US should be there in any power architecture in Asia, which for New Delhi is "more open, more flexible and more inclusive".
"We have argued that the US should be there. US is an Asian power."
Indonesia and South Korea are other emerging power in Asia, he said at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - a Washington-based think-tank.
"These are changing so rapidly that whatever system, architecture we apply, it has to be flexible," he said.
Responding to a question on the reports of presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit and Baltistan, he said India`s position is known that these are Indian territories.
"The Chinese government has denied that there are armed personnel in Gilgit, Baltistan. They denied this to us....This is our territory, part of India, which Pakistan has occupied
since 1948. This is known to all our friends including toChina," he added.