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Remarks by External Affairs Minister at the 4th Indo-Pacific Business Forum (October 28, 2021)

October 29, 2021

Secretary Blinken,
Other colleagues from the United States, India & the Indo-Pacific region,
Distinguished Guests,

It is a matter of great pleasure to address the 4th edition of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum (IPBF) which is jointly hosted by India & the United States. This is the second such event this year which reflects the importance accorded to the Indo-Pacific region, and the potential and opportunities that it offers. I would like to commend the efforts of all the organizers and the planners.

2.Today Indo-Pacific reflects the reality of globalization, the emergence of multi-polarity and the benefits of rebalancing. It underlines both our inter-dependence and inter-penetration. As we speak of common good and common efforts, it is natural that this is addressed, amongst other means, through a business forum. India sees Indo-Pacific as a free, open, inclusive region, which embraces all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity. It includes all nations in this geography as also draws others beyond who have a stake in it. To advance these objectives, India is pleased to co-host the fourth edition of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum.

3. India believes that our common prosperity and security requires us to evolve, through dialogue, a common rules-based order for the region. Such an order must respect sovereignty and territorial integrity, international law, as well as equality of all nations. It envisages that countries should have access to the use of common spaces on sea and in the air that would require freedom of navigation and overflights, unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law. India stands for a fair, open, balanced, rules-based and stable international trade regime in the region. India’s approach is based on cooperation and collaboration, given the need for shared responses to shared challenges in the region.

4. Now, even otherwise, the world was moving towards greater economic diversification and political multi-polarity. The Covid-19 has given a much sharper impetus to those trends. The experience of the pandemic has broadened the understanding of national security for most societies. It has taught us the importance of resilient and reliable supply chains, just as it has cautioned us against concentrated production. Whether it is ‘Vocal for Local’ or ‘Make in India’, the thinking today in our country has focused on shorter supply chains and more decentralized globalization. The world needs additional engines of growth as well as the networking to support the democratization of the global economy.

5. These are all concerns that will guide your deliberations at this Forum. The new priorities of the post-Covid world, health security, digital delivery and green growth , will surely feature in them. Whether it is in terms of initiatives or solutions, you may be assured that India takes the opportunities and challenges of the Indo-Pacific very seriously. You can see that in the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, or indeed in the vaccine collaboration undertaken through the Quad format. Our global endeavours like the International Solar Alliance or the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure also have a direct relevance for this region.

6. Let me conclude by emphasizing that India is coming out of the Covid pandemic and is witnessing a strong economic recovery. We will continue to be a more dynamic and friendlier business destination. We will contribute to being an engine of growth for the global economy. And we will be very much a part of more reliable and resilient supply chains that the post-Covid world requires.

7. International cooperation, especially among businesses, is a key to the better world that we all seek. The Indo-Pacific, a region in which we are so deeply invested historically, will be an arena of particular activity and energy. India looks forward to working together with all of you in the coming days to strengthen business linkages with this dynamic region.

I wish this forum great success.

Thank you for your attention.

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