New Delhi: The European Council on Monday (April 19, 2021) approved and released the European Union (EU) strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific which aims for ‘regional stability, security, prosperity, and sustainable development’ at a time of rising challenges and tensions in the region.
The European Union has now joined blocks like ASEAN which has its own outlook on the Indo-Pacific vision, strongly backed by India and the US.
The Council in its statement said, “The EU intends to reinforce its role as a cooperative partner in the Indo-Pacific, bringing added-value to relations with all its partners in the region.”
The policy calls for developing partnerships in the areas of security and defence, including addressing maritime security, malicious cyber activities, disinformation, emerging technologies, terrorism, and organised crime.
The EU sees Indo-Pacific as a region spanning from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island states, a region that has the world’s two most populous countries, which are also huge economies — India and China.
The EU strategy comes days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to Portugal for the 16th India-EU summit.
The EU’s envoy to India, Ugo Astuto while speaking to Zee News, pointed out to Brussel’s strong commitment to the region while reaffirming ties with New Delhi. He said the EU and its member states have a broad relationship with partners in the Indo-Pacific, notably India.
Astuto added that the Council Conclusions adopted on Monday strongly emphasize the EU’s commitment to the region with the aim of contributing to its stability, security, and sustainable development.
He explained, “The EU Indo-Pacific strategy is grounded on the values of democracy, rule of law, human rights and international law. The EU joins other partners who have declared Indo-Pacific approaches, with a view to strengthening synergies in the region towards the pursuit of global common goods.”
The EU, notably, joins countries like France, Germany and Netherlands in the block to issue strategies on the Indo-Pacific.
Recently, France had also joined India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI).
Trilaterals like India, Australia and France have been focusing on increasing engagement under the vision.