Piyush Goyal, India’s Trade Minister, has invited the business community in the Indo-Pacific region to boost development, trade and growth in emerging sectors in the region. He urged companies to set up their manufacturing base and expedite integration into each other’s supply chains.
“We can expand our export-import collaboration in areas of clean tech, tourism, logistics, sustainable agriculture, start-ups, healthcare, education & life sciences,” Goyal said at a special plenary with trade ministers of the Indo-Pacific region on the theme ‘Developing a Road Map for Shared Prosperity. “India’s track record should give confidence to our friends that it will be their natural reliable ally in years to come.”
The minister said shared prosperity is impossible without shared commitment and it is commitment which entails sharing challenges as well as opportunities and risks, as well as rewards. He highlighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in 2015, had articulated his vision for the Indo-Pacific in one word – SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region). “It must serve as the guiding principle for all nations in this region, as a secure and stable Indo-Pacific region equals peace and prosperity for all.”
Goyal pointed out that as the world moves to realign from over concentrated and risky supply chains, it can trust India to provide a multitude of investment and manufacturing opportunities. He said India endorses the concept of working towards ensuring a transparent, trustworthy, dependable and reliable supply chain.
According to Chatham House, a think tank, a wide range of countries are actively adapting their strategic outlooks and formulating specific policies for the Indo-Pacific, sometimes without fully understanding how these may be perceived by their partners. It says that once the impacts of COVID-19 and the subsequent global economic downturn were felt, and in light of China’s continued expansionism, domestic divisions in many countries began to diminish. Those concerned about China gained traction and a wider willingness to push back against China emerged. Moreover, the shift has prompted a greater drive for a new round of international partnerships beyond China’s orbit, from economic alliances such as the India-Japan-Australia supply chain resilience initiative to reinvigorated Quad.
The Indo-Pacific region, according to Natasha Jha Bhaskar, General Manager of Newland Global Group, is emerging as a new area of importance, driven by the common interests and convergences of several strategic powers, each with their own set of influences and ambitions. “The Indo-Pacific covers a diverse and big region that envelopes Southeast Asia, South Asia and the littoral nations of the Indian Ocean.” She believes the consolidation of the region could also offer alternatives to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, assert the need for a connected multipolar region of numerous middle powers, and their strategic and economic aspirations.