New Delhi: India will have to accept the "new reality" of China`s presence in areas it considers exclusive as it converts the relationship into a "meaningful partnership", External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said Monday, while stressing that greater collaboration between the two would define Asia`s role in the 21st century.
As India and China move forward in "finding resolution to the issues, and in converting their relationship into a meaningful partnership, India will have to accept the new reality of China`s presence in many areas that we consider an exclusive area for India and its friends", Khurshid said at the inaugural address of the Annual Convention of the Indian Association of International Studies here.
The convention was titled Dawning of the Asian Century: Emerging Challenges before Theory and Practices of International Relations in India.
"The rules of the game will change, and China will add to the richness with its presence and participation in many areas… A combination of their strengths is called for...
"I believe the real praise of India`s foreign policy will come in being able to combine the strengths without targeting the aspirations of any one else in the world... providing greater collaboration between the two will define Asia`s role in the 21st century," he said.
According to the minister, Indian Ocean Rim countries, or those countries with a coastline along the Indian Ocean, constitute a very important part of Asia and India "is a point of pivot".
He said many countries were "desperate" to have a closer link with the Indian Ocean, considering its importance in maritime and security issues, and China would "give its right arm to be as closely placed as India".
"The pivot that India provides to the concept is the stepping stone for links" to other countries around it, said Khurshid.
In spite of the "changing balance between principles and pragmatism, India`s approach to international relations -- of enlightened self-interest has survived… an idea articulated by India`s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru", the minister added.
On SAARC, Khurshid said the bloc`s eight nations "are emerging realities, and India can`t expect a stand-alone or stand-still policy of countries".
He termed as "very sad" the fact that very few Indians were interested in international relations. He hoped that the two-day convention would help "excite the juices of an average Indian" towards foreign policy.