Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla on Tuesday said India’s Indo-Pacific strategy depends on securing end-to-end supply chains in the region and ensuring prosperity for all stakeholder nations without disproportionate dependence on a single country.
Delivering a speech on ‘India’s Vision of the Indo-Pacific’ at the Policy Exchange think tank, he said, “This aspiration depends on securing end-to-end supply chains in the region; no disproportionate dependence on a single country; and ensuring prosperity for all stakeholder nations. An Indo-Pacific guided by norms and governed by rules, with freedom of navigation, open connectivity, and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states is an article of faith for India.”
While talking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of the Indo-Pacific, the Foreign Secretary said, “India’s Indo-Pacific strategy as enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in Singapore in 2018 as the SAGAR doctrine. In Sanskrit, among other Indian languages, the word ‘sagar’ means the ocean. The Prime Minister used it as an acronym for “Security and Growth for All in the Region.”
He further spoke on India’s role as a net security provider in the Indo-Pacific region.
“We have sought to strengthen security and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific by becoming a net security provider – for instance in peacekeeping efforts or anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. Sharing what we can, in equipment, training, and exercises, we have built relationships with partner countries across the region. In the past six years, India has provided coastal surveillance radar systems to half a dozen nations – Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Myanmar, and Bangladesh. All of these countries also use Indian patrol boats, as do Mozambique and Tanzania.”
“In the area of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), India has not only built robust capacities it has also established itself as an instinctive and unstinted early responder and a credible friend,” he added.
India has also promoted and contributed to infrastructure, connectivity, economic projects, and supply chains in the region, always prioritising the needs of the host community, the Foreign Secretary said.
In an apparent dig at China, he also said that the world needs to be careful “not to embrace constructs that themselves create dependencies and skewed arrangements.”
“We must not forget that many countries of the Indo-Pacific have suffered a history of colonialism, some of the wrinkles of which are still with us and still need to be ironed out. While doing so, and while moving ahead purposefully, we need to be mindful not to embrace constructs that themselves create dependencies and skewed arrangements,” Shringla said.
“Whatever the navigation map, the fact that the Indo-Pacific is the 21st century’s locus of political and security concerns and competition, of growth and development, and of technology incubation and innovation is indisputable,” he added.