Indo-Pacific: ‘Italy can lend support to India-centric E.U. strategy’

It will provide a springboard for region’s peace and prosperity, says MEA.

June 17, 2021 10:21 pm | Updated 10:21 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Stating that the focus areas of the European strategy for the Indo-Pacific are strikingly similar to India’s own vision, a senior Ministry of External Affairs official on Thursday encouraged Italy to lend support to an India-centric European Union (E.U.) Strategy for cooperation in the region.

“This will provide a springboard to India-Italy cooperation for the region’s peace and prosperity. Further, Italy’s manufacturing prowess complements India’s desire to become a trustworthy node in the global value supply chains,” said Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) in the MEA. This synergy is supported by India’s central position in the region and the new initiatives, such as the production linked incentive scheme, she said.

“Europe’s embrace of the Indo-Pacific underlines the growing recognition of the region’s importance and unfolds new opportunities for cooperation with India,” Ms. Das said. She was speaking at the India-Japan-Italy trilateral webinar on the Indo-Pacific organised by the Embassy of Italy in collaboration with the Japan Institute for International Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation.

“The geo-political pivot to Indo-Pacific is still an ongoing process,” Ms. Das said adding that there is need to evolve a common rules-based order that applies to all individually and also to the global commons which must also respect sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as equality of all nations, irrespective of size or strength.

“These rules and norms should be based on the consent of all, not on the power of the few. It also means that nations must uphold the international commitments they make,” she said while reiterating India’s strategy that ASEAN centrality and unity lie at the heart of it. India’s vision for the Indo-Pacific was articulated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Shangri La Dialogue in June 2018

Vincenzo de Luca, Italian Ambassador in India, said there was need to integrate bilateral collaboration to promote an articulated multilateral approach in the region, starting from strengthening economic and trade relations. “In this context, Italy can play a leading role in the field of energy transition, connectivity, infrastructure and digitalisation.”

To give a practical shape to this cooperative and collaborative approach, India proposed the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in November 2019. The IPOI is envisaged as an open, inclusive, non-treaty-based global initiative to better manage, conserve, sustain and secure the maritime domain.

Seven central pillars

Ms. Das said the IPOI has seven central pillars that address aspects of the shared challenges faced by the region that require urgent and coordinated solutions. “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.”

India has taken the lead on two pillars — disaster risk reduction and management and maritime security. Ms. Das said the IPOI has been welcomed by several countries in the region and Australia has taken lead on maritime ecology pillar, Japan on connectivity pillar and France and Indonesia on maritime resource pillar.

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