‘Security, stability of Indo-Pacific vital for world’: S Jaishankar

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Dec 17, 2020 11:07 PM IST

Jaishankar said it is critical to address the Indo-Pacific policy for all players in the international arena as threats to the region could imperil security.

The security, stability and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific is vital for the world and the region captures a mix of India’s broadening horizons, widening interests and globalised activities, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday.

File photo: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.(PTI)
File photo: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.(PTI)

Defining the Indo-Pacific construct, he said the region signifies the confluence of the Indian and Pacific oceans that can no longer be handled as distinct spheres. The space is also home to more than 64 per cent of the world’s population and accounts for 62 per cent of the global GDP, with more than 50 per cent of global trade traversing through its waters.

“And obviously, the security, stability, peace and prosperity of this vast region is vital for the world,” he said while speaking on the theme “Future construct of the Indo-Pacific” at the Partnership Summit 2020 organised by the Confederation of the Indian Industry (CII) and the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.

“Every nation and region would have its own version of this reality. But I can speak for India and say this: It captures a mix of our broadening horizons, widening interests, and globalised activities,” he added.

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Jaishankar emphasised the need for collaborative action, as the individual interests of countries and collective benefits are at stake. He said it is critical to address the Indo-Pacific policy for all players in the international arena as threats to the region could imperil security.

Referring to the debate on who owns the Indo-Pacific concept, he said records show India and Japan were “early movers” and Australia and the US joined in later. The ASEAN announced its Indo-Pacific approach last year and France, Germany and The Netherlands recently unveiled their official policies while the UK is now talking of an “Indo-Pacific tilt”.

“This active debate should be treated as a recognition of reality and statement of priority. Quite appropriately, much of it revolves around the ASEAN, whose East Asia Summit initiative has long had its own Indo-Pacific connotations,” he added.

Speaking on India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), that was announced at the East Asia Summit in November 2019, Jaishankar said this is aimed at strengthening practical cooperation and rests on the seven pillars of maritime security, maritime ecology, maritime resources, capacity building, disaster risk reduction and management; science, technology and academic cooperation; and trade, connectivity and maritime transport.

India will be a driving force for all areas under IPOI, and like-minded countries, such as Australia and Japan, and ASEAN member states have already expressed willingness to work with the country in these areas, Jaishankar said.

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