The Indo-Pacific region represents the “return of history” and reflects the “reality of globalization,” and the benefits of “rebalancing,” Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Tuesday.
“(The Indo-Pacific region) is a seamless and integrated space (that) was disconnected decades ago by the strategy of the day, … it means the overcoming of the Cold War and a rejection of bipolarity and dominance,” Jaishankar said, addressing the first edition of the Indo-Pacific Business Summit.
“Most of all, it is an expression of our collective interest in promoting global prosperity and securing the global commons. The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative advanced by India clearly validates this assertion.”
The virtual summit, held on July 6-8, is participated by 21 prominent countries of the Indo-Pacific region, including the US, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. It is jointly organized by the business group Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.
COVID-19 has disrupted “our supply chains, negatively impacted manufacturing, made international trade unpredictable and ruined many services sectors,” the minister noted, saying globalized production networks remain vulnerable and fragile, with global merchandise trade falling by 5.6% in 2020, compared to 2019.
He added that “whether it is the next wave, the next pandemic or indeed something quite different,” part of the answer lies in “greater international collaboration.”
Jaishankar also said India is coming out of the second wave of the pandemic and will witness a “strong economic recovery.”
“It will be a more dynamic and friendlier business destination,” he said. “We will contribute to being an engine of growth for the global economy and we will be very a part of more reliable, and resilient supply chains that the post-COVID world requires.”
“The Indo-Pacific — a region in which we are so deeply invested historically — will be an arena of particular activity and energy,” he said.
Earlier, before Jaishankar, several other foreign affairs leaders also addressed the summit.
According to the organizers, the summit provides a platform for decision-makers from Indo-Pacific countries “to meet and discuss with business leaders and policymakers,” highlight “the role of the states as the drivers of growth and partnership with countries from the Indo-Pacific region, and “identify and showcase opportunities for investment and partnerships by Indo-Pacific companies.”
Maintaining that the Indo-Pacific region “is the route for a significant amount of global trade and has huge untapped resources in terms of energy resources and the blue economy,” the CII also noted: “Strengthening trade ties amongst the Indo-Pacific nations forms the cornerstone of enhanced Indo-Pacific cooperation that must be proactively cultivated and pursued.”
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