Ahead of a crucial Quad meeting, India joined the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework that seeks an open, inclusive, interconnected and secure Indo-Pacific for sustainable growth of the region, in a message to an aggressively expanding China that has been accused of unfair trade practices and economic coercion.
Speaking at the launch ceremony that included 13 major economies of the region like Japan, South Korea and Australia, besides the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that it reflects a collective desire to make the region a powerhouse to boost the global economy.
“The IPEF is a declaration of our collective to make the region an engine of global economic growth,” the PM said, thanking US President Joe Biden for steering the initiative. He also called on the participating nations to find common and creative solutions to tackle economic challenges of the region.
Besides India and the US, the IPEF consists of Japan, Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
“The IPEF seeks to strengthen economic partnership among participating countries with the objective of enhancing resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region,” a statement by the Indian external affairs ministry after the launch read.
India reaffirmed its commitment for a free, open, and inclusive IndoPacific region that will depend on deepening economic engagement among partners for growth, peace, and prosperity. “India is keen to collaborate with countries under the IPEF and work towards advancing regional economic connectivity, integration and boosting trade and investment within the region,” it said.
Following the launch, partner countries will begin discussions focusing on strengthening economic cooperation that are based on four broad identified pillars of trade, supply chains, clean energy and taxation and anti-corruption.
In a joint declaration, the nations have resolved to build high-standard, inclusive, free, and fair trade commitments that will fuel economic activity and investment and promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This will include cooperation in the digital economy.
On supply chains, the nations resolved to make them more resilient and integrated, with measures to mitigate the impact of disruptions and minerals.
On Clean Energy, Decarbonisation and Infrastructure, the nations are looking at technology sharing and ways for easy access to finance to meet goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. On anti-corruption measures, the participating nations committed to enforcing effective regimes against money laundering and bribery.