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Friday, 4 January, 2002, 16:41 GMT
Blair returns to new world order
The Blair's arrive in India
Tony and Cherie Blair arriving in India
Nyta Mann

Although Tony Blair has arrived in India, his diplomatic shuttle across South Asia is as yet in low-key mode.

But it will move up several gears pretty soon.

The key Asian leaders - Indian Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee and Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf - are occupied for most of this weekend with the regional summit of South Asian leaders being held in Kathmandu.

So it is when this ends that Mr Blair is expected to hold talks with Mr Vajpayee.

In the meantime, Mr Blair is using his two-night stop-over in Bangalore to focus on a theme he has highlighted before - that of a world in which the interests of individual nation states are increasingly globalised - economically, socially and, as 11 September showed, through acts of terrorism.

Global social justice

In his speech to the Confederation of Indian Industry on Saturday he will seek to develop the theme of "global interdependency" - a slightly clunking phrase for the vision he began to draw two years ago when the Kosovo crisis was dominating his attention and much of his time.

That speech was delivered at a time when critics questioned why Mr Blair was devoting so much of his prime ministerial energies and considerable UK military forces into Kosovo when he had not been moved to intervene in other crises elsewhere in the world.

He returned to the theme in his speech to Labour's party conference last October, which painted an ambitious vision of a new, global social justice, including a new deal for Africa.

In Bangalore he delivers the third speech in the series, setting out his principles of international engagement and his vision of the UKs role as a force for good in the new, globalised world order.

Mr Blair will further define the "interdependent" agenda, telling his audience that although Britain no longer has an empire and is not a superpower, it has a vital role in the world which 11 September has made clearer than ever before.

Interdependence

The prime minister believes that role is to be a pivotal player in the world, using the combined benefits of Britain's history, geography, language, links with other nations and international bodies in the interests of the UK and the wider world at one and the same time.

Knitting Afghanistan and 11 September into the ideas he first set out during the Kosovo crisis, he will stress how vitally important this position is in a world where threats and opportunities in a far away place can have immediate consequences on the other side of the globe.


Out of the shadow of this evil, should emerge lasting good...This is a moment to seize

Tony Blair's party conference speech
It is only nations acting together, as with the US-led coalition against terrorism, that can meet such challenges.

The key thrust of his message is that in the era of globalisation, it is simply no longer possible to put foreign and domestic policy into separate compartments.

Mr Blair believes that international engagement of the kind he has thrown himself into since the attacks on the US is just, not only because it was right in its own terms, but because protecting Britain's national self-interest also required it.

The prime minister's Labour conference speech left many observers lauding the sentiments in it, but critical that Mr Blair would quite simply not be able to live up to its almost save-the-world rhetoric.

That speech also included the striking image that, in the immediate wake of 11 September: "Out of the shadow of this evil, should emerge lasting good...This is a moment to seize.

"The kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us."

Three months on, the prime minister appears to have a clearer notion of where he believes those pieces are now starting to settle.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Robinson
"Mr Blair hopes he can persuade India to talk to President Musharraf"
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw MP
"The Prime Minister has a very powerful reputation in South Asia"
Indian foreign affairs official L K Grover
"Delhi is not going to act in haste"
See also:

03 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Blair urges restraint over Kashmir
03 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Analysis: Blair's delicate task
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