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Sangri-La Dialogue: Indo-Pacific key to growth and development of Asean nations

By Vinod

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid more emphasis on Indo-Pacific during his visit to three nations which is globally an important. So much so that even the US has said that the role of India in the Indo-Pacific is more important. The story is repeated in the Sangari-La dialogue in Modi's Key Note address.

Narendra Modi at Sangri-La Dialogue

Dhruvajyoti Bhattacharya, an expert on the international matters, told OneIndia that actually talks on Indo-Pacific started when Indonesian President and other Asean heads of state had been visiting India during country's Republic Day celebrations. So the matter was bound to be discussed during the PM's visit.

Former foreign secretary Shashak said that Indonesia in a sense divides Indo-Pacific so the role of these countries is very important. The PM in his key note address said that Indo-Pacific was a natural region. It is home to a vast array of global opportunities and challenges."

The ten countries of South East Asia connect the two oceans in geographical and civilizational sense. Inclusiveness, openness and ASEAN centrality and unity, therefore, lie at the heart of the new Indo-Pacific. India does not see the Indo-Pacific Region as a strategy or as a club of limited members, said the PM.

The PM says, "Southeast Asia is at its Centre. And, ASEAN has been and will be central to its future. That is the vision that will always guide India, as we seek to cooperate for an architecture for peace and security in this region. This must be based on faith in dialogue, and not dependence on force. It also means that when nations make international commitments, they must uphold them. This is the foundation of India's faith in multilateralism and regionalism; and, of our principled commitment to rule of law."

Shashank said that most of the ASEAN countries are culturally and civilization wise close to each other that will benefit not only the country but the entire region. Indo-Pacific links Indian Ocean with Pacific that opens window for trade, business, security cooperation and cultural cooperation.

The PM further says "We should all have equal access as a right under international law to the use of common spaces on sea and in the air that would require freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law. When we all agree to live by that code, our sea lanes will be pathways to prosperity and corridors of peace. We will also be able to come together to prevent maritime crimes, preserve marine ecology, protect against disasters and prosper from blue economy."

"All of us have been benefited from globalisation. But, there is a growing protectionism. Solutions cannot be found behind walls of protection, India stands for open and stable international trade regime. We will also support rule-based, open, balanced and stable trade environment in the Indo-Pacific Region," Said Modi.

Connectivity is the new mantra for growth and development which enhances trade and prosperity. "There are many connectivity initiatives in the region. If these have to succeed, we must not only build infrastructure, we must also build bridges of trust. And for that, these initiatives must be based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, consultation, good governance, transparency, viability and sustainability. They must empower nations, not place them under impossible debt burden. They must promote trade, not strategic competition," said the PM.

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