Stating that the focus areas of the European strategy for the Indo-Pacific are similar to India’s own vision, MEA Secretary East, Riva Ganguly Das on Thursday urged Italy to lend support to an India-EU Strategy for cooperation in the region.
“This will provide a springboard to India-Italy cooperation for the region’s peace and prosperity. Further, Italy’s manufacturing prowess complements India’s desire to become a trustworthy node in the global value supply chains,” said Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) in the MEA. This synergy is supported by India’s central position in the region and the new initiatives, such as the production linked incentive scheme, she said.
“Europe’s embrace of the Indo-Pacific underlines the growing recognition of the region’s importance and unfolds new opportunities for cooperation with India,” Ms. Das said. She was speaking at the India-Japan-Italy trilateral webinar on the Indo-Pacific organised by the Embassy of Italy in collaboration with the Japan Institute for International Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation.
“The geo-political pivot to Indo-Pacific is still an ongoing process,” Ms. Das said adding that there is need to evolve a common rules-based order that applies to all individually and also to the global commons which must also respect sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as equality of all nations, irrespective of size or strength.
India-Japan-Italy Trilateral Relations
India and Japan share close partnership in the Indo-Pacific driven by convergence of views for a peaceful, open, equitable, stable and rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific region and a commitment to work for its peace, stability, security and development.
Encouraging Italy to lend support to an India-centric EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, Das reasoned, this will provide a springboard to India-Italy cooperation for the region’s peace and prosperity.
The newly launched India-EU Connectivity Partnership also provides a framework for India and Italy to strengthen sustainable connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region, she added.
Vincenzo de Luca, Italian Ambassador in India, said there was need to integrate bilateral collaboration to promote an articulated multilateral approach in the region, starting from strengthening economic and trade relations. “In this context, Italy can play a leading role in the field of energy transition, connectivity, infrastructure and digitalisation.”
Seven central pillars
Ms. Das said the IPOI has seven central pillars that address aspects of the shared challenges faced by the region that require urgent and coordinated solutions. “While India will be the driving force behind all areas identified under the IPOI, we are also actively seeking partnerships with like-minded countries to lead on any of the pillars of IPOI.”
India has taken the lead on two pillars — disaster risk reduction and management and maritime security. Ms. Das said the IPOI has been welcomed by several countries in the region and Australia has taken lead on maritime ecology pillar, Japan on connectivity pillar and France and Indonesia on maritime resource pillar.