Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that globalization is the overwhelming reality of our times while addressing the EU-Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Stockholm on May 13.

He said that, however far apart they may be, regions and nations cannot be impervious to significant events elsewhere. Nor can we cherry-pick them at our convenience. The European Union has major stakes in Indo-Pacific developments, especially as they pertain to technology, connectivity, trade, and finance. It has to, in respect for and observance of UNCLOS. Agnosticism on such matters is therefore no longer an option.

Dr. Jaishankar said

Established thinking—whether on politics, economics, or governance—is being tested by the outcomes of the last two decades. How to respond to non-market economics is proving to be a more formidable challenge than most of us expected. The compulsions of the immediate are often in contradiction with the concerns of the medium term. Therefore, conventional templates must give way to new thinking better suited to emerging realities.

The Indo-Pacific itself is increasingly central to the direction of global politics. Among the issues that it throws up are the problems inherent in the established model of globalization. Recent events have highlighted the problems with economic concentration as well as the need for diversification. De-risking the global economy now involves both more reliable and resilient supply chains as well as promoting trust and transparency in the digital domain. The EU, and indeed the world, is better off with additional drivers of production and growth.
Leveraging market shares, production capacities, and resources is an issue that can no longer be overlooked. Nor can connectivity and project financing any longer be taken at face value. A strategically more aware Europe should not limit its consciousness geographically. The Indo-Pacific is a complex and differentiated landscape that is best understood through more intensive engagement. A generous and strategic approach that caters to economic asymmetries will surely enhance the EU’s appeal. The more the European Union and Indo-Pacific deal with each other, the stronger their respective appreciations of multipolarity will be. And remember, a multipolar world, which the EU prefers, is feasible only in a multipolar Asia.
In such an engagement with the Indo-Pacific, the EU will naturally seek like-minded partners. India is certainly among them. There may be historical and cultural divergences, but at the end of the day, we are political democracies, market economies, and pluralistic societies. Transformations underway in India, like digital public delivery or green growth initiatives, certainly merit the EU’s attention. India is also rapidly expanding its global footprint and will intersect with that of the EU more in the coming years.

Any evaluation of the Indo-Pacific will naturally factor in the Quad as a platform for global good. The agenda and the impact of the Quad have steadily expanded. I would also highlight the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and the Maritime Domain Awareness Initiatives as having potential significance. From an Indian perspective, let me also flag the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) that we proposed in 2019. The EU will be comfortable with its objectives and may consider partnering on one of its pillars.

Keeping all this in mind, the Indo-Pacific, India specifically, and the European Union need a regular, comprehensive, and candid dialogue, not just limited to the crisis of the day. Few Indian governments have invested as much energy and effort in engaging the European Union and its member states as the current one. I myself am headed hereafter to Brussels for the first meeting of our Trade and Technology Council. Therefore, allow me to finally conclude by thanking you all for the opportunity to put across our views on such a crucial topic.


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