NEW DELHI: Calling the region the engine of global economic growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed India’s commitment to a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region as it joined the US-led Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
The trade initiative was launched on Monday by US President Joseph Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio in Tokyo with leaders of other Indo-Pacific partner countries including Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam joining in virtually.
The initiative aims to counter China’s aggressive expansion in the region that had ruffled many feathers.
Highlighting India’s historical association with the region, PM Modi said, “The announcement of IPEF is a declaration of a collective desire to make the Indo-Pacific region an engine of global economic growth. India has historically been at the centre of trade flows in the Indo-Pacific region, having the world’s oldest commercial port in Lothal, Gujarat.”
PM Modi further stated that India’s commitment towards collaborating with all Indo-Pacific countries for the IPEF is both inclusive and flexible. He emphasized that the foundation of resilient supply chains must be the 3T’s – Trust, Transparency and Timeliness.
“IPEF is a 21st-century economic arrangement designed to tackle 21st-century economic challenges, ranging from setting the rules of the road for the digital economy, to ensuring secure and resilient supply chains, to helping make the kinds of major investments necessary in clean energy infrastructure and the clean energy transition, to raising standards for transparency, fair taxation, and anti-corruption,” PM Modi said.
PM Modi also called for finding common and creative solutions to tackle the economic challenges of the Indo-Pacific region. He remarked that deepening economic engagement among partners is crucial for continued growth, peace, and prosperity.
PM Modi also expressed his desire to join hands with other partner countries under the IPEF and work towards advancing regional economic connectivity, integration and boosting trade and investment within the Indo-Pacific region.
In terms of numbers, IPEF looks like a formidable entity that makes up 40 per cent of the world GDP and the region is home to 60 per cent of the world population.