India at forefront of global affairs, not ‘standing in corner’: Modi

New Delhi, May.26: Ahead of his Washington visit early next month where he is set to meet President Barack Obama and address a joint session of the U.S. Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has in a veiled reference to India’s traditional non-aligned stand in the world stage said ‘India is not standing in a corner’.

In an interview to Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker on the eve of his two years in office, Prime Minister Modi said, “Today, unlike before, India is not standing in a corner.”

The leading New York-based daily said the ties between both sides have been growing stronger over the last decade despite India’s traditional stand of being a non-aligned country, which had remained reluctant to play a prominent role in global affairs.

The WSJ said the U.S. wants India to emerge as an ‘economically strong’ and ‘credible counterweight’ against a rising China, adding this has led to deepening of defense cooperation between the two countries.

The international daily further stated that Prime Minister Modi downplayed any friction with China and instead pointed at increasing trade and diplomatic exchanges between the two nations.

He asserted that all countries need to cooperate and respect international norms in order to ensure a collective success in an ‘interdependent world’.

“Relationship between China and the U.S., there are areas where they have substantial differences but there are also areas where they work closely.This is the new way. If we want to ensure the success of this interdependent world, I think countries need to cooperate, but at the same time we also need to ensure that there is respect for international norms and international rules,” the WSJ quoted Prime minister Modi as saying.

The Prime Minister refrained from commenting on U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

“These are issues of debate in the election. A government shouldn’t respond to that…As a part of the election debate many things will be said there, who ate what, who drank what, how can I respond to everything?” he said.

Prime Minister Modi will travel to the US for a bilateral summit with President Obama in the first half of June. President Obama had reportedly invited the Prime Minister for a bilateral summit when they both met briefly during the Nuclear Security Summit.