External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday (local time) laid stress on the multipolar world at the EU-Indo-Pacific Ministerial.
“The Indo-Pacific is a complex and differentiated landscape that is best understood through more intensive engagement. A generous and strategic approach that caters to economic asymmetries will surely enhance the EU’s appeal. The more European Union and Indo-Pacific deal with each other, the stronger will be their respective appreciation of multi-polarity. And remember, a multipolar world, which the EU prefers, is feasible only by a multipolar Asia,” said Mr Jaishankar.
He made the remarks while sharing his thoughts about the Indo-Pacific at the EU-India Pacific Ministerial Forum. Mr Jaishankar outlined six points reflecting capabilities, activities and endeavours among the nations of the Indo-Pacific.
He said that the EU has major stakes in Indo-Pacific developments, especially concerning technology, connectivity, trade and finance. Jaishankar dealt with globalisation and established thinking at the forum.
“Globalization 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. The European Union has major stakes in Indo-Pacific developments, especially as they pertain to technology, connectivity, trade and finance. It has to, in respect for, and observance of UNCLOS. Agnosticism on such matters is therefore no longer an option,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar said that the artificial lines that separated theatres due to the politics of the day are now coming to terms with a more integrated existence. They also reflect different capabilities, broader activities and shared endeavours among the nations of the Indo-Pacific.
Mr Jaishankar said that established thinking is being tested by the outcomes of the last two decades.
“How to respond to non-market economics is proving to be a formidable challenge than most expected. The compulsions of the immediate are often in contradiction with the concerns of the medium-term. Therefore, conventional templates must give way to new thinking better suited to emerging realities,” said Mr Jaishankar.
Indo-Pacific itself is increasingly central to the direction of global politics. Among the issues that it throws up, are the problems inherent in the established model of globalization.
The EAM said that recent events have highlighted the problems with economic concentration, as also the need for diversification.
“De-risking the global economy now involves both, more reliable and resilient supply chains, as well as promoting trust and transparency in the digital domain. EU and indeed the world is better off with additional drivers of production and growth,” he said.
Mr Jaishankar said that transformations underway in India, like digital public delivery or green growth initiatives, merit the EU’s attention. India’s rapidly expanding global footprint will intersect with the EU more in the coming years.
“In such an engagement with the Indo-Pacific, the EU will naturally seek like-minded partners. India is certainly among them. There may be historical and cultural divergences but at the end of the day, we are political democracies, market economies and pluralistic societies,” he said.
Jaishankar while further evaluating Indo-Pacific laid stress on Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), commonly known as the Quad, a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan and the US.
“Any evaluation of the Indo-Pacific will naturally factor in the Quad as a platform for global good. The agenda and the impact of the Quad have steadily expanded. I would also highlight the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and the Maritime Domain Awareness initiatives as having potential significance. From an Indian perspective, let me also flag the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) we proposed in 2019. The EU will be comfortable with its objectives and may consider partnering in one of its pillars,” said Mr Jaishankar.
He also underscored that India and the EU need a regular, comprehensive and candid dialogue, especially with regard to the Indo-Pacific.