Nagpur: Lauding India's standing in the world, the Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande, has said that India's rise in a 'non-threatening' manner and as a responsible power is acknowledged by the world community.

He underlined that India's foreign policy is playing a vital role in securing its national interests.

Delivering a keynote address at IIM Nagpur today, COAS Pande said, "India's rise in a 'non-threatening' manner and as a responsible power stands acknowledged by the world community.

India's growth in stature brings with it recognition, additional responsibilities, opportunities and challenges. As the nation's influence expands, some will question our rise, some will contest it, and some will attempt to compete. As a nation, we need to ensure that our national interests remain paramount."

He also said that India has taken the lead in championing initiatives to find solutions to global problems.

"Our foreign policy and diplomatic pursuits are playing a vital role in securing India's interests. Our stance on the Russia-Ukraine conflict is a fine example of how we stood steadfast and clear in addressing legitimate concerns based on national interest. The country has taken lead in championing initiatives for finding solutions to global problems in ventures such as the International Solar Alliance, the Global Bio Fuel Alliance, the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and Vaccine Maitri," the Army Chief said.

"Consequently, today India has a voice on the world stage that is distinct, rooted in Indian ethos and effective in articulating the concerns of the Global South," he noted.

Moreover, he also highlighted how India was able to manage the economic downtrends of the pandemic and, later, the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

"Our economic growth is on a firm footing. Unlike many nations, we were able to brave the economic downturns of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict based on an agile, resilient and consumption-driven economy," he said.

"An aspirational demographic dividend, cost advantage, accruing from the vast human capital, policy reforms, skilling initiatives, infrastructure investment, digital potential, frontline entrepreneurship, the promise of being a reliable supply chain stakeholder and our commitment to sustainable development have made us today the fifth largest economy in the world and the fastest-growing major economy," the COAS added.

The Army Chief further went on to speak on the Indo-Pacific region and added that India's "stakeholdership" in the region finds reflection in the policy initiatives and participation in various regional strategic frameworks.

"Our progression towards being a 'strong nation' militarily needs to be achieved by enhancing our defence capability through self-reliance. A fine example of this need can be seen in the Indo-Pacific region, which has emerged as the pivotal theatre in the contemporary geo-strategic canvas. India's strategic location here propels it to be a key player in this region's discourse," he said.

"Our stakeholdership in the region finds reflection in our policy initiatives and participation in various regional strategic frameworks, be it BIMSTEC, IORA, India-ASEAN engagements, the Indo-Pacific Oceans' Initiative, SAGAR, QUAD and the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, to name a few," he said further.

Furthermore, the Army Chief also shed light on how India concluded its G20 presidency successfully.

The COAS said, "The successful conduct of the G20 meet demonstrated India's ability to bridge divides and achieve consensus on some very knotty issues."

The G20 Summit was held in September at the newly built Bharat Mandapam in New Delhi under India's Presidency.

PM Modi, in his opening remarks at the 18th G20 Leaders' Summit, invited the African Union, represented by Chairperson Azali Assoumani, to take a seat at the table of G20 leaders as a permanent member.

"With everyone's approval, I request the AU head to take his seat as a permanent G20 member," Modi said in his address.

The African Union is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa. The move to include the African Union in the G20 grouping was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this June.