New Delhi (India): Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday said that India has not only mainstreamed “Indo-Pacific”, but also encouraged others to perceive and define the region to its full extent.
Speaking at the workshop on the Indo-Pacific organized by the Embassies of France and Japan along with the Observer Research Foundation, Shringla said, “India has not just mainstreamed the expression “Indo-Pacific”, but has also encouraged others to perceive and define the region in its full extent. That is why countries such as Germany and Netherlands, physically distant but economic stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific, have released strategies for the region. We understand that the EU is also working on its strategy for the Indo-Pacific.”
He further stressed that the Indo-Pacific has become an essential concept in international relations today, adding that no foreign policy conversation is complete without a discussion on the region.
“Whatever the navigation map, it is an indisputable fact that the Indo-Pacific is the 21st century’s locus of political and security concerns and competition, of growth and development, and of technology incubation and innovation,” he said.
“Over 50 percent of global trade traverses this maritime domain. It is also home to over 60 percent of the world’s population and the global Gross domestic product (GDP), and the security, stability, peace, and prosperity of this vast region is vital for the world,” he also mentioned.
Shringla highlighted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for the region which he had enunciated as the SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) doctrine at Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore in 2018.
An Indo-Pacific guided by norms and governed by rules, with freedom of navigation, open connectivity, and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states, is an article of faith for India, the Foreign Secretary opined.
Recalling the 2019 East Asia Summit in Bangkok where PM Modi announced the ‘Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative’, Shringla recalled that India planned to support the building of a rules-based regional architecture based on seven pillars.
“These are maritime security, maritime ecology, maritime resources, capacity building and resource sharing, disaster risk reduction and management; science, technology, and academic cooperation and trade connectivity, and maritime transport. I am happy to note that today’s workshop is focussing on two of the pillars namely maritime security and connectivity,” Shringla said at the workshop organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
He also said that India and France shared a highly developed maritime security partnership while enjoying a relationship with Japan that is crucial to the Indo-Pacific architecture.
“India, France, and Japan are leading stakeholders in the region and with other like-minded countries, it is upon us to ensure that the Indo-Pacific remains peaceful and open, taking into account the needs and concerns of all its inhabitants,” he said.
The Foreign Secretary further said that India has sought to strengthen security and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific by becoming a net security provider and highlighted PM Modi’s vision of “a self-reliant India” as a response to the current global uncertainty.