Concept of Indo-Pacific embraced by many, contested by few: EAM Jaishankar in US

He said the idea of India making significant contributions to the Indo-Pacific order is something that truly reflects the current global rebalancing.

Weighing in on the Indo-Pacific, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said it is a concept that has been “readily embraced” by many and “contested by a few.” In his address at the Hudson Institute in Washington DC on Friday, the External Affairs Minister said the concept of Indo-Pacific is something that has gained ground.

On India’s role in a New Pacific order, EAM Jaishankar said, “It’s probably, a new idea, something very different to think of India, in terms of, the Pacific region, the Pacific community of nations…We today do much more business to the East of India, than we do to the West of India. We look at our key trade partners. We look at our important economic partners…Now what it has given rise to in the last few years is the concept of Indo-Pacific that too has been readily embraced by many and contested by a few. But, again it’s a concept that has actually gained ground.”

He said the idea of India making significant contributions to the Indo-Pacific order is something that truly reflects the current global rebalancing.

“So, in some ways what you are seeing today of Indo-Pacific coming together –the idea of India contributing in many ways to Indo-Pacific order is something which reflects really the rebalancing that today is taking place n the world…. rebalancing in which the changed capabilities and positioning and attitudes of the US is a central driving factor,” Jaishankar said, adding, “But, also in one in which the rise of China and its implications is a very very crucial issue.”

Recently, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out his vision for an Indo-Pacific, which was based on mutual respect, dialogue, cooperation, peace and prosperity. The Defence Minister also termed the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration a “grand success”.

Highlighting the complex security challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, Rajnath said,  “The Indo-Pacific has developed into a pivotal geopolitical region. The region faces complex security challenges such as boundary disputes and piracy,” the Defence Minister said.

The remarks were made at the two-day 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs’ Conference in New Delhi jointly hoisted by the the armies of India and the United States. Notably, Jaishankar is currently in the last leg of his US visit. Earlier, he was in New York for the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Wrapping up his New York visit, the EAM arrived in Washington, DC on September 28. Upon his arrival, Jaishankar met his US counterpart Antony Blinken in Washington DC, and the two leaders affirmed hope for positive outcomes from the bilateral talks.

Recalling Prime Minister Modi’s state visit to the US in June, Jaishankar said he is looking forward to Blinken’s visit to Delhi for the 2+2 dialogue.“Thank you, Antony, good to be back here. And we of course, had the Prime Minister here this summer. We thank the US for all the support at the G20 Summit and I actually look forward to seeing you in Delhi for 2+2,” Jaishankar said.

The fourth 2+2 dialogue between India and the US was held in Washington, DC in April last year. He also met with the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, with both sides recognising the tremendous progress in bilateral relations this year and holding discussions on taking it forward. The EAM also participated in a conversation with think tanks about India’s growing role in global transformation. On a visit to the US since September 22, Jaishankar will also be addressing the 4th World Culture Festival, which is being organised by the Art of Living Foundation of spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. 

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