Mumbai, Apr 15: India has "culturally dominated" China through the sea route for over 2,000 years, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Friday at the Maritime Summit here.
Speaking at the event, Singh also described the Gangetic plains as the cradle of all civilisational thoughts.
When the Chinese revolution was on, the then Peking University vice-chancellor Hu Shih, who also represented China at the UN, wrote that "India has dominated and culturally controlled China for more than 2,000 years without sending a single soldier," the minister said.
"The message has truly gone to China as well that Indian culture has influenced it and it might have gone only through the sea route," Singh said, delivering the valedictory speech at the maiden Maritime Summit.
He also quoted the French philosopher Voltaire as saying that "I am fully convinced that everything has come from the banks of the Ganges."
Singh further said that as India grows economically, militarily and technologically, its "national security imperatives and political interests will stretch gradually beyond the Indian Ocean Region."
Contribution of the shipping and maritime sector to GDP will grow by nearly three times over the next five years, he said, and added that it will continue to play an important role in the economic expansion.
The Home Minister's statement comes in the backdrop of New Delhi's strained relationship with Beijing after China recently blocked a proposal to proscribe the Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed's founder Masood Azhar.
Singh also exuded confidence that the shipping ministry will achieve its target of garnering over USD 66 billion in investments over the next five years for the Sagarmala project.