Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged nations in the Asia-Pacific region to work together to solve problems such as climate change, nuclear weapons, terrorism and cyber attacks. Addressing leaders of over 50 countries in Singapore, Modi said the “Asia of rivalry” must give way to an “Asia of cooperation”.

Contests must not be allowed to become conflicts and differences should not become disputes, the prime minister said in his keynote address at the Shangri-La dialogue. The International Institute for Strategic Studies organises the annual defence summit at Singapore’s Shangri-La Hotel. The 2018 summit began on Friday evening and will conclude on Sunday.

Modi hailed India’s strengthening ties with China, the United States and the Association of South East Asian Nations. “No other relationship of India has as many layers as we have with China,” he said. “Asia and the world will have a better future if India and China work together in trust and confidence.”

He said cooperation between India and China was expanding and trade was growing. The two countries have displayed “maturity and wisdom in managing issues and ensuring a peaceful border”, Modi added.

The prime minister called for a “rules-based order” for cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, and said that “solutions” could not be found “behind the walls of protection, but by embracing change”.

“This is a world of inter-dependent fortunes and failures,” he said. “No nation can shape and secure it on its own. It is a world that summons us to rise above divisions and competition to work together. Is that possible? Yes. It is possible. I see ASEAN as an example and inspiration.”