India, Japan and Italy need to ensure peace in Indo-Pacific region: Secretary (East)
Peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region necessitates safety and security of this maritime space, said Riva Ganguly Das
The geo-political pivot to Indo-Pacific is still an ongoing process, and it is upon like-minded countries like India, Japan and Italy to ensure that the Indo-Pacific remains peaceful and open, said MEA Secretary East, Riva Ganguly Das while addressing a webinar on Thursday.
Speaking at the India-Japan-Italy Trilateral Webinar on Indo-Pacific, the Secretary East claimed that India stands for an open, balanced, rules-based and stable trade environment in the Indo-Pacific Region, which promotes trade and investment.
She said India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) is envisaged as an open, inclusive, non-treaty-based global initiative, aimed to promote practical cooperation by drawing on existing regional architectures like the ASEAN-led East Asia Summit (EAS) framework, IORA and PIF.
The concept of Indo-Pacific has gained increasing salience in recent years.
Besides India, several countries and regions have articulated their own concept and vision for the Indo-Pacific, including Japan, US, Australia, ASEAN, France, Germany, the Netherlands, UK and most recently the EU, she recalled.
India and Japan share close partnership in the Indo-Pacific driven by convergence of views for a peaceful, open, equitable, stable and rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific region and a commitment to work for its peace, stability, security and development.
Europe’s embrace of the Indo-Pacific underlines the growing recognition of the region’s importance and unfolds new opportunities for cooperation with India.
The focus areas of the European strategy are strikingly similar to India’s own vision of the Indo-Pacific.
Encouraging Italy to lend support to an India-centric EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, Das reasoned, this will provide a springboard to India-Italy cooperation for the region’s peace and prosperity.
The newly launched India-EU Connectivity Partnership also provides a framework for India and Italy to strengthen sustainable connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region, she added.
Noting that India's vision for the Indo-Pacific is a positive one that includes all nations in the geography and beyond who have a stake in it, she mentioned, ASEAN centrality and unity lie at the heart of this Indo-Pacific.
Our common prosperity and security require us to evolve a common rules-based order that applies to all individually and also to the global commons, she explained.
These rules and norms should be based on the consent of all, not on the power of the few, Das asserted.
She also said that New Delhi’s Vision for the Indo-Pacific underlines equal access for all to the use of common spaces on sea and in air, mandating freedom of navigation, overflight, unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law.
This would ensure that our sea lanes are pathways to prosperity, Das observed.
"While India will be the driving force behind all areas identified under the IPOI, we are also actively seeking partnerships with like-minded countries to lead on any of the pillars of IPOI,"she added.