Shared Prosperity Key to Strategic Stability in Indo-Pacific: MJ Akbar

National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 22 March 2018

Describing the Indo-Pacific as one of the most significant and dynamic trade zones of the world, Minister of State for External Affairs, MJ Akbar today said that rising economies and growing trade has created greater scope for regional economic integration.

The Minister was delivering a Keynote Address at the workshop on ‘Strategic Stability in the Indo-Pacific’, organised by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) London, on March 22, 2018.

Describing the Indo-Pacific region as critically important to India, Shri Akbar insisted that ‘shared prosperity’ is the only form of sustainable prosperity. In this context, he also said that India supports ‘free passage for all’ for flourishing trade in the region.

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Insisting that connectivity is no longer restricted to land, but extends to sea, sky and space, Shri Akbar highlighted the importance of connectivity for realising the concept of ‘Blue Economy’ and achieving security and growth for all. He also emphasised that conflict needs 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 nation states today are not so much driven by elite politics, but by people’s aspirations, especially for economic betterment.

Also speaking on the occasion, Desmond Bowen, Team Leader and IISS Consulting Member, said that the strategic themes in the region have expanded from being limited to South Asia, to a much broader area – the Indo-Pacific.

Earlier, Deputy Director General, IDSA, Maj Gen Alok Deb (Retd) read out a statement from Director General, Jayant Prasad. The statement reflected upon the changes in Asia and the world since the end of the Cold War, which provide the context for considering the regional equilibrium and strategic stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

Besides rebuilding the international coalitions that underpin global economic and security governance that takes account of the emergence of new actors, what is required is a return to the ethic of multilateralism, howsoever difficult it might be to speak of its prospects today. The global structures also need to be buttressed by regional anchors lifting their game and contributing to the creation of regional public goods, the statement read.

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