Bharatiya Janta Party National General Secretary Ram Madhav on Monday said Indo Pacific is “not a political or any special strategic arrangement” but the natural and most happening region today.
“When we talk about Indo Pacific, we talk about the natural region. It’s about appreciating the reality,” he said while sharing his thoughts in a session titled ‘Dhaka Consensus: Growth and Development in the Indo-Pacific.”
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam, Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Julia Niblett and Research Fellow, International Security Studies Department, Royal United Services Institute Veerle Nouwens also spoke at the session moderated by President, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Samir Saran.
The discussion was part of the ongoing three-day ‘Dhaka Global Dialogue 2019’ that began on Monday morning with formal inauguration by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Global experts came together here at the two-and-a-half day dialogue to discuss and debate the core development issues in the Asian century where all nations can gain from partnership and collaboration.
Responding to a question, the BJP leader said India’s whole outlook about the Indian Ocean and Indo Pacific is that they are not creating any special region or regional arrangement here. “Indo Pacific is a natural region.”
Explaining why they are talking about Indo Pacific in Dhaka, Washington and across the world, he said they are talking about it because this region, in the 21 century, has emerged as the most happening region.
He laid emphasis on joint efforts to deal with the opportunities and challenges in the region saying it is all about ‘stakeholdership.’
He said the key thing of the discussion is how to ensure the rules-based order respecting sovereignty of all.
Shahriar Alam talked about the ‘natural bonding’ among Indo Pacific countries and said they need to invest in institutions and come closer if they want to propel the growth further in the region.
Referring to Bangladesh’s foreign policy approach – ‘friendship to all, malice to none’, the State Minister said they want to maintain almost equal terms with the other countries. “We’re one of the first countries in the region to say ‘yes’ to BRI but at the same time we’re mindful of the challenges that come.”
He said as long as they are mindful of right steps taking in the right moment, future will be brighter for countries like Bangladesh.
Shahriar highlighted Bangladesh’s leadership role on migration issue in the global forum saying they have a responsibility to improve the migration system across the world within the UN system.
He said differences between neighbours can be resolved amicably through discussions and respecting the rules-based order.
Australian High Commissioner Niblett said the Indo-Pacific is a much-discussed concept in many different forums and it obviously means different things to different countries.
In Australia, she said, they use the term Indo Pacific because they recognise Australia’s security and prosperity are greatly affected by developments in the Indo Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.
The High Commissioner highlighted links between current links and possible links that enable trade. “This presents a lot of potential and opportunities.”
She said this is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic regions in the world.
ORF President Samir Saran on Sunday said the Indo Pacific should not be about America trying to contain China or China trying to contain someone else; rather it should be centrally about the people who live in Indo Pacific region.
“It’s time to move beyond security and politics and we’ve to focus on what really matters us,” said Saran who belongs to one of Asia’s most influential think tanks.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) and ORF, India are co-hosting the dialogue which seeks to catalyse conversations on what is fast emerging as one of the most important and dynamic political and growth geographies of the world.