External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar today said that India envisages a free, open, inclusive and peaceful Indo-Pacific built on a rules-based order. Mr Jaishankar, who is on a visit to Thailand, delivered a public talk on ‘India’s Vision of the Indo-Pacific’ at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
Speaking at the event, the Minister said, only those whose mindsets are built around spheres of influence and are uncomfortable with the democratization of world affairs will dispute the Indo-Pacific.
Recognising that a very substantial part of India’s interests now lies towards the East, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar said, it is clear that New Delhi now looks beyond the Indian Ocean and into the Pacific. The Minister further hailed the ASEAN grouping, noting that India envisages the bloc to be at center of the Indo-Pacific, both literally and substantively. The visiting minister also lauded the group of four countries: the United States, Australia, India, and Japan (Maritime QUAD bloc) as the most prominent plurilateral platform that addresses contemporary challenges and opportunities in the Indo-Pacific.
Lauding QUAD bloc the visiting minister expressed confidence that the entire Indo-Pacific region will benefit from its activities and that is validated by growing recognition of its importance in the international community. Jaishankar said that India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway has the potential of creating a completely new axis of economic activity in Asia. He added that though the project has had its fair share of challenges the countries are determined to bring it to an early conclusion. The prospects for the global order depend on a more equitable and democratic distribution of power and resources. The world must be more multi-polar. Such a multi-polar world must necessarily have a multi-polar Asia at its centre.
Without mincing word Minister said China is embroiled in heated territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. China claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims. China is aggressively controlling regions that are rich in minerals, oil and other natural resources and are also important for global trade. Beijing is militarizing several islands and reefs in the region by laying out infrastructure.
Jaishankar who is in Thailand attended the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting and offered prayers at the Devasthana at Bangkok on Thursday morning. Underlining the shared religious and cultural traditions between both countries, the EAM said he received the blessings of Phra Maharajaguru Vidhi.