TOKYO : India was among a dozen “initial partners” that signed up in Tokyo on Monday for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a fresh economic arrangement proposed by US President Joe Biden to counter China’s growing influence in the region through integrated, resilient and clean economies.
Endorsing the initiative, PM Shri Narendra Modi committed to working with all Indo-Pacific countries for an inclusive and flexible IPEF while also declaring that the foundation of resilient supply chains, a major focus area for the Framework that will apparently provide an alternative to China’s approach to “critical’’ economic issues, must be 3Ts – trust, transparency and timeliness.
`I am confident that this framework will help strengthen these three pillars, and pave the way for development, peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,’’ said Modi.
The 13 initial partner countries – US, India, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and 7 ASEAN nations – together account for 40 per cent of world GDP. Biden said they were writing the new rules for the 21 century economy that will help their economies grow faster and fairer.
In his remarks, Modi, who was there in-person for the launch along with Biden and Japanese PM Fumio Kishida, thanked Biden for the initiative and said that the IPEF was a declaration of “our collective will’’ to make the region an engine of global economic growth.
The Indo-Pacific region is the centre of manufacturing, economic activity, global trade and investment. History is witness to the fact that India has been a major centre in the trade flows of the Indo-Pacific region for centuries. It is worth mentioning that the world’s oldest commercial port was in Lothal in my home state of Gujarat, India. Therefore, it is essential that we find common and creative solutions for the economic challenges of the region,’’ said Modi.
Welcoming the initiative, the India government, said in a statement that the IPEF, billed as the most significant economic engagement that the US has had in the Indo-Pacific, will work to strengthen economic partnership amongst participating countries with the objective of enhancing “resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region’’.
“India is committed to a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region and believes that deepening economic engagement among partners is crucial for continued growth, peace, and prosperity. India is keen to collaborate with partner countries under the IPEF and work towards advancing regional economic connectivity, integration and boosting trade and investment within the region,’’ said the MEA, adding that with the launch on Monday, partner countries will begin discussions focusing on strengthening economic cooperation and achieving shared goals.