Hyderabad, July 24 India is trying to come to the "centre stage" of Indian Ocean politics where China is a "big player" as the region is going to play a major role in world economy in coming years, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said here today. Delivering a talk here on 'Look East, Act East, What Next?, Madhav said, "The next is we are already into the Indian Ocean region in a big way.
Somehow we missed out on it earlier and started looking at the West. India has 7,500 kms coastline and 1,200 islands in Indian Ocean. We have to protect each and every island.
"Indian Ocean will be 50 per cent of world's economy in the next 10 years. Half of world's warships and submarines will be travelling in the Indian Ocean. Most important region...somehow we have not paid great attention to it," he said.
He said the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is 'acting East' in a big way now. "Slowly, India is trying to come to the centre-stage of Indian Ocean politics. Today, you have China as a big power in the Indian Ocean, but counter-balancing power is United States."
"A big country like India has millennium-old cultural relations with the countries of South-East Asian region as our rulers used to go to these countries and spread culture, education and knowledge. They are our friends. We only have to use that cultural bonds, the ancient linkages to get them on our side," Madhav said.
He said it was never "appreciated" that culture can be an "important dimension" of foreign policy until Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power.
"Our government has initiated steps to strengthen relationships with many countries through cultural linkages," Madhav said.
He said India has been working overtime to achieve this synergy with the countries in the South East region and "you will witness a different kind of diplomacy (from India) in the coming years".
Madhav said, "We are now going to make India's North-East, the pivot of our geographically 'Act East Policy'. Through, North-East, we will build our own infrastructure (road route) and connect entire South-East Asia geographically ... We have great plans."
"Americans formed Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and today India is growing in this region and we should now start calling this region as 'India Pacific Region'. We have started calling it as Indo-Pacific region. The region is going to be the future power house of the entire world and India is going to play a very important role in the future politics of the region," Madhav added.