The BIMSTEC charter has laid the foundations for a prosperous, peaceful, and sustainable Bay of Bengal region, a goal that can be achieved by greater integration and deeper collaboration. While ensuring continuity with past efforts and strengthening economic cooperation is necessary, it must also realise its potential in newer areas such as the blue economy, which has three interlinked pillars— connectivity, prosperity, and regional stability.
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The signing of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement between India and Australia in April, shows how well Australia has understood its new economic partner. In this special podcast, Lisa Singh, CEO, Australia-India Institute, and Manjeet Kripalani, Executive Director, Gateway House, have a wide ranging discussion on areas of strategic cooperation from trade, digital governance, connectivity and maritime security, to multilateral engagement in G20 and the Quad.
India and France have long been reliable partners, and friends in need. The fifth meeting between the leaders of the two countries highlights the focus on strengthening cooperation in 21st century issues. The India-France Track 1.5 Dialogue, hosted by Gateway House, Mumbai and Ifri, Paris, explored the potential of cooperation in digitalisation and energy transition
The EU has been working on an India engagement for two decades now – a strategic partnership and a free trade engagement. It is finally being realised – the outcome of the visit of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Delhi this month. The upgraded, ambitious partnership Europe’s long overdue pivot to India.
China has established a dominant presence in the Indo-Pacific through exploitative economic engagements. This has destabilised smaller nations in the region and made them dependent on Chinese support. For a free and open Indo-Pacific, India must press its advantage in human and economic capacity building.
The recently concluded BIMSTEC summit is now a regional intergovernmental organization with a formal charter, giving it a clear mission and legality and a destiny linked to South and South East Asia. It is now better equipped to accelerate economic development for the fifth of the world’s population, which contributes only 4% of global GDP.
BIMSTEC is of special importance to India as it is a crucial link between the Neighbourhood First and Act East policies. This almost 25 year old multilateral can contribute to the Indo-Pacific region by addressing challenges in strategic areas of regional connectivity, security cooperation, free trade, and geoeconomic ties with external partners.
On 16 March 2022, Foreign Secretary, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, delivered the keynote address at the first roundtable of the India-France Track 1.5 Dialogue, co-hosted by Gateway House and Ifri. He traced the achievements of the bilateral, particularly in the areas of digital cooperation and energy transitions. He highlighted the "infinite possibilities" for the India-France partnership given their unique positions in the Indo-Pacific.
Concerns of global supply chains being overdependent on China has shifted the focus to India. This became clear in 2021 when Australia, Japan and India together launched the Resilient Supply Chain Initiative. India must now leverage its unique position in the Indo-Pacific region by incorporating well-planned industrial clusters and models.
Financial intermediaries are critical lubricants for business, growth and development. The Indo-Pacific countries are industrializing, but smaller nations lag behind economically. The Quad countries can aid the advancement of the financial architecture in the Indo-Pacific by helping to develop an ecosystem, modelled on the examples of Japan and India.