Indo-Pacific locus of political, security concerns in 21st century: Foreign Secretary

Harsh Vardhan Shringla.   | Photo Credit: PTI

India has not just mainstreamed the expression “Indo-Pacific”, but has also encouraged others to perceive and define the region in its full extent, said Foreign Secretary Harsh V. Shringla on Tuesday.

In a recorded message to the ‘India-France-Japan Workshop on the Indo-Pacific’, organised by the Observer Research Foundation, Mr. Shringla said it was an indisputable fact that the Indo-Pacific is the 21st century’s locus of political and security concerns and competition, of growth and development, and of technology incubation and innovation.

“India, France and Japan are leading stakeholders in the region and with other like-minded countries, it is upon us to ensure that the Indo-Pacific remains peaceful and open, taking into account needs and concerns of all its inhabitants,” Mr. Shringla said.

Referring to the SAGAR — Security and Growth for All in the Region — doctrine advocated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018, Mr. Shringla said this aspiration depends on “securing end-to-end supply chains in the region; no disproportionate dependence on a single country; and ensuring prosperity for all stakeholder nations.”

Maritime cooperation

Referring to unilateral non-cooperative policies by certain nations in the region, French Ambassador Emmanuel Lenain called for grater Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and monitoring of the Exclusive Economic Zone. He also stressed the need for interoperability and support to regional organisations like the Indian Ocean Rim Association.

Stating that it takes a while for the new order to settle down, Mr. Lenain said their common goal is to find this new balance as soon as possible and France was ready to work on that. “We are building piece-by-piece a strategic triangle between Paris, Tokyo and Delhi committed to a rules-based Indo-Pacific order. We should now explore synergies among us,” he said.

Stressing that Japan’s commitment for a Indo-Pacific vision remains unwavering, Japanese Ambassador Satoshi Suzuki said, “The vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific cannot be achieved a nation alone. It requires collective efforts of like-minded countries like India and France.”

Ties with ASEAN

Stating that there was “tremendous potential” for trilateral cooperation towards this end, Mr. Suzuki said, “We should seek partnership with other likeminded states like Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries having ASEAN centrality in mind.”

Both Mr. Lenain and Mr. Suzuki called for trilateral cooperation in the area of digital connectivity. On the bilateral front, Mr. Suzuki said India and Japan are increasing cooperation in maritime security, connectivity and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

Japan unveiled its Indo-Pacific vision in 2017 while France was the first European country to come out with an Indo-Pacific policy in 2018.

India has bilateral logistics agreements with both France and Japan and both countries have deployed Naval Liaison Officers at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 9:35:01 AM |

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