New Delhi, May 23
Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) by US President Joseph Biden in Tokyo to counter China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) strategy of building infrastructure for developing countries to bring them under its influence.
A day ahead of the second in-person Quad summit, its four leaders – Modi, Biden, Japan PM Fumio Kishida and Australian PM Anthony Albanese — attended the launch in the virtual presence of leaders from nine other partner countries — Brunei, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The 13 countries account for 40 per cent of the global GDP.
A joint statement issued by the 13 potential partners said the IPEF sought to strengthen economic partnership to enhance resilience, economic growth and fairness in the Indo-Pacific region. The participation of nine other countries was a tightly wrapped secret till Biden made the announcement. The headline speculation thus far was about a white shipping agreement among Quad countries to keep an eye on illegal Chinese fishing. PM Modi described the launch as a declaration of collective desire to make the Indo-Pacific region an engine of global economic growth. India has historically been at the centre of trade flows in the Indo-Pacific region, having the world’s oldest commercial port in Lothal, Gujarat, he reminded while calling for creative solutions to tackle economic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
PM Modi also expressed India’s commitment towards working with all Indo-Pacific countries for an IPEF which is both inclusive and flexible. He said the foundation of resilient supply chains must be 3Ts – Trust, Transparency and Timeliness. Partner countries will now begin discussions on strengthening economic cooperation and achieving shared goals. 11 of the 13 countries are part of the RCEP of which China is a member and India is not. Among the 10 ASEAN members, many of which bear the brunt of China’s aggression, only Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar stayed out.
IPEF to focus on supply chains
Trade facilitation for SMEs
Standards for digital
economy & technology
Rules and standards
Other shared interests
- IPEF rollout is part of US efforts towards a strong economic policy for Indo-Pacific to counter China’s infra and trade strategy.
- Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have joined this US initiative.
India, US sign pact
- India and the US signed an Investment Incentive Agreement, a requirement for continuing US investment support.
- The agreement will activate proposals worth $4 billion under consideration by the US International Development Finance Corporation.
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