Globalisation is the overwhelming reality of our times and there must be a respective appreciation of multipolarity because a multipolar world is feasible only by a multipolar Asia, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said in his address to the European Union (EU) Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum (EIPMF) in Stockholm.
He also had discussions with several of his EU counterparts on a range of bilateral issues, including strengthening ties amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In his address at the EIPMF, Mr. Jaishankar called for “regular, comprehensive and candid dialogue” between India and the EU that is not just limited to the crisis of the day.
“Globalisation is the overwhelming reality of our times. However, far apart, regions and nations cannot be impervious to significant events elsewhere. Nor can we cherry-pick them to our convenience,” he said.
“Indo-Pacific itself is increasingly central to the direction of global politics. The more the European Union and Indo-Pacific deal with each other, the stronger will be the respective appreciation of multipolarity, and remember, a multipolar world, which the EU prefers, is feasible only by a multipolar Asia,” he said.
Mr. Jaishankar said that while there may be historical and cultural divergences, at the end of the day India and the EU are made up of political democracies, market economies, and pluralistic societies.
Transformations underway in India, like digital public delivery, or green growth initiative, merit the EU’s attention and as India rapidly expands its global footprint, it will intersect with that of the EU more in the coming years, he noted.
Mr. Jaishankar also raised the Quad — the grouping comprising India, the US, Japan, and Australia — as a platform for global growth which is important to any evaluation of the Indo-Pacific, with its “agenda and impact” steadily expanding.
“Geographically, the Indo-Pacific is a complex and differentiated landscape that is best understood through more intensive engagement. Few Indian governments have invested as much energy and effort in engaging the European Union and its member states as the current one,” he added.
On the sidelines of the summit on May 13, the External Affairs Minister also held bilateral discussions with his European counterparts, including French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, Belgium’s Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ivan Kondov, Cyprus Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos and Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics, among others.
He told the summit that he is headed to Belgium next for the first meeting of the India-EU Trade and Technology Council in Brussels, where he will be joined by Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles Piyush Goyal and Minister of Railways, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw.
Mr. Jaishankar arrived in Sweden from Bangladesh where he addressed the 6th Indian Ocean Conference on Friday.