Addressing the Inaugural Session of the maiden Indo Pacific Business Summit, Dr S Jaishankar, External Affairs Minister, Government of India said that the “Indo-Pacific reflects the reality of globalization, the emergence of multi-polarity and the benefits of rebalancing.” The Minister highlighted three issues that the pandemic has brought to the fore - the salience of health, the power of the digital, and the importance of building or re-building greener.
Noting that the pandemic had adversely impacted global trade, he said that the private sector would have a key role in sharing advanced technologies, collaborations in vaccine and pharma production, capacity building and transparency in health information.
The Minister stated India is coming out of the second pandemic wave and will witness a strong economic recovery. It will be a more dynamic and friendlier business destination. He stressed, “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.”
H.E. Mr Franck Riester, Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness, Republic of France stated that the Indo-Pacific region is a major focus of French foreign policy. “Our Indo Pacific strategy aims at fostering inclusive cooperation on climate change, bio-diversity, ocean governance and connectivity. We support the development of the blue economy,” he added. He also said that as member of the European Union (EU), France believes that EU has a lot to offer to the Indo Pacific and therefore France has worked hard to ensure that 2021 will be year that EU formulates its strategy for cooperation in the Indo Pacific region.
Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Foreign Minister of Australia and Minister for Women said that “The pandemic has put all economies under immense stress starting from smallest island states to large industrialised nations. Forums like the Indo Pacific Business Summit are important to ensure how we collectively regroup once the pandemic is over”. She stated that Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is forming a knowledge partnership with India’s National Centre for Coastal Research to drive collaboration in marine testings.
The Honourable Alan GANOO, Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Republic of Mauritius stated that the Indo-Pacific region is extremely important from the trade perspective. The region has all the ingredients to generate regional trade and investments. The focus should be on connectivity and infrastructure to reduce cost and implementation is the key. He also stated that due its strategic location, Mauritius has developed into an international business centre. The Minister called for stronger participation of businesses in eastern Africa and the African continent as a whole.
H.E. Mr Abdulla Shahid, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Government of Maldives said, “Indo Pacific region is considered as the driving force of the world economy.” He highlighted that the Maldives is an important link to maintain the stability in the Indian Ocean with a high rate of shipping passing through the region. “Our focus is on deepening ties with traditional partners and enhancing ties with new friends. Promoting economic growth, social inclusion and improving human wellbeing should be the focus area in the Indo Pacific region,” he added.
H.E. Mr Don Graves, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, United States, Department of Commerce said, “United States is very clear that enhancing cooperation in the Indo Pacific is a top priority for us. We believe that it is critical that United States and our partners in the Indo Pacific region work together to advance peace, defend our shared values and improve our prosperity. The stronger our cooperation, the sooner we can tackle today’s pressing challenges.” For the past 20 years, the annual bilateral trade with India has grown from US$ 19 billion to US$ 120 billion. He said that that India and United States would be co-hosting the 4th Indo Pacific Business Forum in India in late October 2021.
H.E. Mr Nguyen Quoc Dzung, Vice Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Socialist Republic of Vietnam noted that the region confronts several challenges including climate change, natural disaster, public health emergencies and most importantly the COVID-19 pandemic. Tourism, civil aviation and services sectors are suffering while other industries like digital economy, e-Commerce and ICT have gained momentum for strong growth. “We need to take an equitable, inclusive approach to bring in prosperity in the Indo Pacific region,” he said. He mentioned that it is critical to guarantee supply of vaccines and sustaining supply chain connectivity while facilitating an innovation based economic transformation.
Mr Sanjiv Bajaj, President-Designate, CII and Chairman & Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv Limited stated, “The foundation principle of the Indo Pacific region should be a broad understanding amongst countries for a rules based, open and transparent economic and strategic paradigm. From the perspective of industry, the Indo Pacific region needs to have a string thrust in areas of investment, trade and technology”, said Mr Bajaj. Fair trade and reimagining supply chains would require attention to trade facilitation and infrastructure. He also pointed to the need for collaboration in technology, healthcare and sustainability.
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII in his opening remarks said, “Although the Indo Pacific has so far primarily been a strategic construct, we believe that this summit will foster a wider economic engagement. With some of the world most developed nations as well as emerging economies, the Indo Pacific represents a vibrant and dynamic economic region”. He further stated that due its strategic location, the Indo Pacific has gained a phenomenal prominence from the national trade standpoint.
The three day Summit is witnessing participation of over 2500 delegates from 45 countries, more than 150 speakers from 30 countries, 15 Senior ministers from India and Overseas and 15 Overseas Ambassadors and High Commissioners.
6 July 2021