Terming the Indo-Pacific as critically important to India, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar on Thursday said shared prosperity is the only form of sustainable prosperity in the region. India supported “free passage for all” for flourishing trade in the region, the minister said while delivering a keynote address at a workshop on ‘Strategic Stability in the Indo-Pacific’, organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London.
The Indo-Pacific, he added, was one of the most significant and dynamic trade zones of the world, and the rising economies and growing commerce had created a greater scope for regional economic integration. Akbar’s remarks come against the backdrop of an increasing Chinese assertiveness in the region. The Indo-Pacific also has several territorial disputes, including the South China Sea dispute between China on one side and several ASEAN nations on the other.
“Describing the Indo-Pacific region as critically important to India, Akbar insisted that shared prosperity is the only form of sustainable prosperity,” a statement by the IDSA said. The minister said connectivity was no longer restricted to land, but extended to seas, sky and space. He highlighted the importance of connectivity to realise the concept of ‘Blue Economy’ and achieve security and growth for all.
Akbar also emphasised that conflict needed to be replaced with three other ‘Cs’ – competition, connectivity and cooperation. Speaking of changes in Asia and the world in the 21st century, the minister pointed out that states today were not so much driven by elite politics, but by people’s aspirations, especially for economic betterment.