Spain discovers the rising
India, albeit belatedly
Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) Spain is discovering India as a rising
global power after years of China-fixation, say Spanish diplomats
who recall the "huge success" of the recent Festival
of India there and the excitement it ignited in the country
was concentrating on Latin America, Maghreb and Europe. In
the late 1990s, we discovered the whole activity of the world,
economic and political, was shifting to Asia," Jesus
Sanz, a veteran Spanish diplomat and Asia expert told IANS
during a visit here.
who was in India to attend the fourth edition of the India-Spain
dialogue, is director general of Casa Asia (Asia House), a
leading Spanish think tank founded in 2002 which is in the
forefront of bringing Spain - an influential EU country that
boasts of the world's eight largest economy - and Asia closer.
Spain's rediscovery of a modern India moored in its ancient
traditions, he recalled how the Spanish government came out
with an action plan in 2000 to establish Spain's greater presence
in the Asia-Pacific Region.
was the first stop in Spain's new way of looking at Asia.
"It started with China - China was seen in Spain as a
big power, a rising economy and a huge country, which was
claiming a big place in the world."
Asia organises an annual East-West dialogue, which attracts
policymakers and intellectuals from Asia and Europe.
on the other hand, was seen more as an exotic country and
was identified in people's minds with yoga, Hinduism, spirituality
and tandoori chicken," said Sanz, a veteran diplomat
who has held key positions, including the director of the
office in Spain's Asian Department of Foreign Affairs.
the late 1990s, Spain discovered that India is much more than
these exotic images. "It was the same case with China.
For long China, too, was confused with Tai Chi, Kung-fu, tea
leaves and Chinese food," he said.
vision of China and the vision of India are now getting balanced
not only in Spain but also in Europe. India is now seen not
only as a regional power but as a country which is playing
a bigger role in international affairs."
excitedly recalled the Festival of India held in Spain last
month, saying it was a huge success with the Spaniards who
turned out in large numbers to watch performances by Indian
dancers and musicians.
was a treat for Spaniards and helped them discover different
aspects of modern India and Indian culture," he said.
ignition has already been done... now we are heading towards
cruising power. It will take some more years. But we are on
the right track," said Sanz.
was not alone in his enthusiasm for India. Twenty-odd Spanish
diplomats who had come here to participate in the fourth India-Spain
dialogue, organised by the Indian Council for World Affairs,
were also excited at the untapped potential of engagement
between India and Spain.
have not realised the potential of India and the potential
of India-Spain relationship. There is huge scope in just about
every area, specially culture, education and tourism,"
said Angel Lossada Torres-Quevedo, Secretary of State for
Foreign Affairs, a position analogous to that of secretary
in the external affairs ministry in India.
is a potential for developing a strategic partnership between
the two countries on an entire range of common global issues
like terrorism, energy security and climate change, Torres-Quevedo
have been victims of terrorism. India has suffered from terrorism
for long. Together, we can strengthen the international legal
and political framework to strengthen the fight against terrorism,"
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