India does not believe in giving "sermons or cut-and-dried" solutions to countries in need of assistance, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday. In an address to his counterparts from various countries at Aero India here, Singh also called for united efforts to counter pressing security challenges, including the threat of terrorism.
The defence minister said India does not believe in dealing with such security issues in the "old paternalistic or the neo-colonial paradigms" and that it always preferred a collective approach to counter them.
"We consider all nations as equal partners. That is why, we do not believe in imposing external or supra national solutions to a country's internal problems," he said. "We do not believe in giving sermons or cut-and-dried solutions, which do not respect national values and constraints of the countries in need of assistance," he said.
Singh noted that India supports the capacity building of its partner countries so that they may chart their own destiny. "There are nations which are richer, militarily or technologically more advanced than others, but it does not give them the right to dictate their solutions to the nations in need of support," he said, in comments which are seen as an apparent reference to China.
The defence minister said this "top-down approach" towards solving problems has never been sustainable in the long run. "Often, it leads to debt trap, reaction from the local population, conflict and so on," he said. "That is why the focus should be on providing assistance, in terms of building of institutions and capacities, so that bottom-up solutions can come up organically, in consonance with the ethos of nations being assisted," he added.
Singh said India offers an enhanced defence partnership to friendly foreign nations. "We offer a partnership that is accommodative of national priorities and capacities," he said. "We want to build with you, we want to launch with you, we want to create with you and we want to develop with you," Singh said.
"We wish to create symbiotic relationships, where we can learn from each other, grow together and create a win-win situation for one and all," he said. Aero India, Asia's biggest aerospace exhibition, was inaugurated on Monday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.