There is a need for greater cooperation in Indo-Pacific region to meet several challenges, including short supply of goods

Calling the Indo-Pacific as a natural extrapolation of India’s Act East policy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said "intensification of globalization and inter-dependence has expanded the horizons of all nations."

“In India’s case, the Indo-Pacific was a natural extrapolation of its Act East policy that has made China, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Australia major economic partners. Indeed, we do more business East of India than West, quite a reversal from the immediate post-colonial era,” EAM Jaishankar said in his remarks at the Global Town Hall 2020.

With regard to rebalancing in the global order, he said, “There have been changes in the capabilities and reach of nations, making some do more and others less. But both categories treat the Indian and Pacific Oceans in a more seamless manner than before.”

“The resulting multi-polarity also requires the like-minded to work more cooperatively and effectively than before. As a result, we have seen initiatives that go beyond alliances and working arrangements that are more flexible and imaginative than before,” he added.

Maintaining that the Indo-Pacific is a more contemporary description of current reality, he said, “Such a landscape actually creates an ethos for greater cooperation, one particularly necessary at a time when global goods are in short supply.”

“If challenges multiply but capacities do not keep pace, the answer is only in more intensified cooperation. Issues like maritime security, transparent and market-based connectivity or counter-terrorism require such solutions. Indo-Pacific is also a rejection of spheres of influence and all that this may imply,” the EAM maintained.

With regard to the Indo-Pacific, he said besides ASEAN, “We have also seen Germany, France and the Netherlands subscribe to this approach. The need of the day is to give it a practical shape. This can be done by plurilateral diplomatic consultations such as the Quad. Or, it can be furthered in a structured fashion by the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative that India tabled at the East Asia Summit in 2019.”

This Indo-Pacific initiative, he said, is “built on the seven pillars of Maritime Security; Maritime Ecology; Maritime Resources; Capacity Building and Resource Sharing; Disaster Risk Reduction and Management; Science, Technology and Academic Cooperation; and Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport. It is natural that we will see different ideas and suggestions in interplay and harmonizing them is very much part of the pluralistic political culture that many of us support.”

Taking a dig at some nations who stand as a roadblock in the way of UN reforms, he said, “The world cannot be frozen for the benefit of a few, even if that is the case with the United Nations. It is an indication of our future, not a throwback to the past. Only those harbouring a Cold War mindset will see such intentions.”