New Delhi, Feb 12 IANS | 8 months ago

India needs to take a call on the request from certain countries in the region to become a "net provider of security", including maritime security, National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon said here Wednesday.

Addressing a lecture on 'India in the 21st Century World', Menon said: "There is a demand that India be a net provider of security and we need to take a call on that."

He said that he did not think India should step into that role.

"The demand is that we step in, in terms of maritime security and help in building maritime capabilities."

But India will have to take a call on the requests and "take the basic decision on how far we are willing to assume these functions... we have not decided", he said at the talk organised by the Indian Association of Foreign Affairs Correspondents at the India International Centre.

There have been requests by some Southeast Asian nations for India to take on a larger role regarding their disputes with China in the South and East China Sea. India has not heeded to the requests so far.

Menon, to a question, said the outcome of the general elections would not have any impact on India's foreign policy.

He said India's foreign policy is not determined by the Indian electoral fortunes.

"Everyone recognises the issues of foreign policy, and when we make policy we consult everybody, which is why we have a basic consensus that works," the national security adviser said, adding that though there may be differences in the style followed by each government but there is consensus on the basics.

On relations with Pakistan and China, Menon said there is nothing like "permanent friends or enemies" and that relations with both neighbours are "far more complex".

He said while ties with China are "difficult" they are nevertheless on a "steady trajectory and moving in one direction".

But with Pakistan, the ties are "more emotional... it swings from euphoria to despair on both sides of the border".

He said it is difficult to predict when ties would become smooth with Pakistan but both sides have a "common interest to work for a better relationship".

(Posted on 12-02-2014)

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