As globalisation advances and becomes more diversified, there will only be a greater appreciation of the inter-dependence and broader footprints that the Indo-Pacific expresses, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday.
“Given this direction, denying the Indo-Pacific is tantamount to denying globalisation,” he said at a conference.
The external affairs ministers said that the Indo-Pacific is a “fact of life” and the question of convergence is, therefore, more of perception than of reality.
“Even those who ostensibly have reservations behave and operate in a manner that validates the Indo-Pacific. And that validation, as you all know, is in its very seamlessness and inter-penetration,” he said.
“In truth, everybody is aware that there is a fusion of theatres that were unnaturally separated earlier. The politics of the day apparently creates some reluctance in admitting to that,” Jaishankar said.
He was speaking at the third Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) organised by the National Maritime Foundation.
In his remarks, he also mentioned divergences of views on the Indo-Pacific.
“The answer is probably in the mindset, possibly even in their insecurities. If one is steeped in the ethos of the Cold War and even leveraged it to advantage, it is not easy to accept that others can approach the world very differently,” he said.
“Especially if the objective is to create a wider, more collaborative and more democratic approach to achieve the common good,” he added.
Jaishankar also talked about de-risking the world from “concentrated production” and “fragile supply chains”.
“What then are the expectations of the Indo-Pacific? Most of all, the likelihood that policies of states which overcome psychological limitations create more opportunities for cooperation,” he said.
Not just that, also the possibility that such endeavours that would involve greater participants would be based more on respect for laws, rules and norms, he said,
“This is all the more important when, in the post-COVID era, we all seek to de-risk the world from concentrated production and fragile supply chains,” he added.
Amid China’s muscle-flexing in the region, several countries around the world have come out with vision documents and strategies to ensure a free and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
“In the domain of international relations, it is natural that new concepts take time to be digested. To facilitate that process, it is also important to show an openness of mind and acceptance that there can be many pathways to approach the Indo-Pacific,” Jaishankar said.