New Delhi: This century is going to be shaped by what happens in the Indo-Pacific, said India’s Minister of State (External Affairs) Meenakshi Lekhi on Wednesday pointing out that India will have its own element of existence and challenges.
Speaking during Raisina Dialogue, the minister stated that the comradery with the great powers is going to be the “focal point of our engagement with the world”, especially in Indo-Pacific.
“Our oceans are our common heritage. That’s what we believe in. And this century is going to be shaped by what happens in Indo-Pacific. And as the name suggests, it’s Indo Pacific. So India will have its own element of existence and challenges,” she said.
The minister further pointed out that what is most important is that this particular region as a geographical entity has about 65 per cent of the world population, 63 per cent of the world GDP, 46 per cent of the world trade and 50 per cent of the current maritime trade.
“So this indicates how important Indo-Pacific region is in the global existence, when we are discussing global strategies,” she stated.
The minister also stated that with changing times, the role of India is going to be more pivotal than ever before.
The globalised world has seen its own challenges. “And the self-reliant India, the Aatmnirbhar India is for the world, which again, during pandemic, we have reinforced this thought that whatever we did, we did it not just for our interests, we did protect our interests, but in addition to protecting our interests, our services, our goods, everything was available for the world, and thus a strong India is good for the world, a strong India stands on the right side of the world,” she said.
And the present maritime landscape also privileges our cooperation and not contestation, which is for mutually beneficial games. “It’s not a time for contestation, it is a time for cooperation..” Lekhi said.
“India historically, and even traditionally, has had connections with all our partners, have interest in our small island nations in the Indian Ocean, and we are committed to nurture security partnerships with these states,” the minister added.
And these small island nations are again not just in existence, “but we do treat them as our family” and they have had a long-standing relationship with India.
The 21st century threats as the minister sees are not the traditional threats as used to till the 20th century, the nature of threats has changed.
“So the threats do exist, but far larger in number and far greater in depth. As we have seen during pandemic that the threat to global order exists, not just in open, but in the shadows,” she said.
And these shadows are run through cyber attacks by a warfare, supply chain disruptions and shortage of critical goods to minerals, added Lekhi.