"A close and enduring partnership between China and India at one level and, at another level, between China, India and other major players like the US, Japan, Europe, Russia, is the best guarantee for global stability," Emeritus Senior Minister and former Prime Minister Tong said.
"Personally, I would be very surprised if a big country like India allowed itself to be used by the US to contain China," he said in a keynote address at the annual International conference on South Asia.
"The US knows that it is not feasible to contain China's rise. India knows that too and, in fact, also aspires to rise. India will act according to its own interests, and on some issues, for example climate change, India's interests will dovetail with China's not the US," said Goh, at the conference themed 'India-China Cooperation for Global Good'.
Goh also noted emotive issues related to the Sino-India relations and called on the next generation of leaders in Beijing and New Delhi to respond creatively and bravely to the imperatives of the changing times.
Noting the differences likely to rise in the future between the two countries, with Chinese oil imports passing through the Indian Ocean, he called on China and India to discuss sensitive issues in a candid and constructive manner,and to find a way to work together, as well as with other countries.
"This is because the challenges of our times are often trans-boundary in nature, and and concern more than just two parties," Goh stressed. He underlined the need for both countries to have partnership to shape an international system that could accommodate their own interests as well as those of other countries.
"The reality is that in today's world, China and India cannot afford to be isolationist or unilateralist," Goh said. Goh also highlighted the positive developments between the two counties especially the progress on bilateral trade. Trade between China and India was more than USD 55 billion in the first 10 months of this year, growing multi-fold from USD 200 million in 1988. Both sides have targeted USD 100 billion bilateral trade by 2015, he added.
Goh, who was the Prime Minister from 1990-2004, also noted strong relations between Southeast Asia and, China and India,and called for further multi-lateral developments in various spheres, given the geographical proximity, cultural affinity and historical linkages.
The one-day conference was organised by Singapore's Institute of South Asian Studies.