The Indo-Pacific Business Summit 2021 organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, is starting Today. The summit comes in the wake of the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI), which was announced by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi during the 14th East Asian Summit.
The 2-day summit, starting from July 6- 8, will focus on how India and the countries of the Indo-Pacific region can boost their economic partnership, collaborate for sustainable use of maritime resources, future economic development, along with the idea of free trade will be stressed upon.
A total of 21 countries are going to participate in the Indo-Pacific Business Summit 2021, in which the participating countries account for US$ 40.6 billion of GDP. Participating counties also comprise 2.9 billion people and a 92 per cent business-to-GDP ratio.
With maritime and trade connectivity becoming one of the key pillars of the initiative, this summit will provide an industry perspective on IPOI.
Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative
On 4 November 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) at the East Asia Summit. The IPOI seeks to ensure the security and stability of the regional maritime sector. The IPOI is an open, non-treaty based initiative for countries to work together for cooperative and collaborative solutions to common challenges in the region.
The vast Indo-Pacific region comprises at least 38 countries, accounts for 44 per cent of the world surface area, is home to more than 64 per cent of the world population, and accounts for 62 per cent of global GDP with over 50 per cent of global trade passes through its waters. The region is highly heterogeneous with countries at different levels of development linked by a common thread of the ocean.
The IPOI is based on the existing regional architecture and mechanism to focus on seven pillars:
1. Maritime Security
2. Maritime Ecology
3. Maritime Resources
4. Capacity Building and Resource Sharing
5. Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
6. Science, Technology and Academic Cooperation
7. Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport
India’s current trade status in the Indo-Pacific
– India’s trade with select Indo-Pacific economies stood at $262 billion (exports $129 billion, imports $133 billion) in 2020, compared to $33 billion (exports $20 billion, imports $13 billion) in 2001.
– The total share of India’s trade with select Indo-Pacific countries in 2020 was, with USA- (Export- 38 per cent, Import- 20 per cent), UAE (Export- 14 per cent, Import- 18 per cent), Singapore (Export- 6 per cent, imports – 9 per cent).
– For further increase in trade, India is focusing on sectors such as infrastructure, logistics, digital transformation, startups, food and agriculture, clean energy, health care and life sciences in the Indo-Pacific Business Summit 2021
What it means for India?
According to Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, the “Indo-Pacific construct signifies the confluence of the Indian and Pacific oceans that can no longer be handled as distinct spheres. It is a reiteration that the world cannot be frozen for the benefit of a few, the security, stability, peace and prosperity of this vast region is vital to the world. The Indo-Pacific concept is not a forecast of tomorrow but a reality of yesterday. It reflects India’s broad horizon, broad interests and globalized activities. The Indo-Pacific is the center of India’s exports and imports.”
Through the Indo-Pacific Summit 2021, India’s strategic priority for ensuring peace, stability, security and prosperity in the region (articulated through IPOI) is integrated with its goals of building a thriving ‘blue economy’, which is vital to the country’s economic development and post-COVID-19 economic recovery.