New Delhi (NVI): The European Council today approved conclusions on an EU strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, setting out the EU’s intention to reinforce its strategic focus, presence and actions in the region.
“The aim is to contribute to regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development, at a time of rising challenges and tensions in the region,” the European Council said in a statement.
The council’s conclusions on Indo-Pacific comes as China’s continues to threaten the security of the region.
The renewed EU commitment to the Indo-Pacific, a region spanning from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island states, will have a long-term focus and will be based on upholding democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law, the council said.
“Current dynamics in the Indo-Pacific have given rise to intense geopolitical competition adding to increasing tensions on trade and supply chains as well as in technological, political and security areas. Human rights are also being challenged. These developments increasingly threaten the stability and security of the region and beyond, directly impacting on the EU’s interests,” it said.
Consequently, the EU’s approach and engagement will look to foster a rules-based international order, a level playing field, as well as an open and fair environment for trade and investment, reciprocity, the strengthening of resilience, tackling climate change and supporting connectivity with the EU. Free and open maritime supply routes in full compliance with international law remain crucial. The EU will look to work together with its partners in the Indo-Pacific on these issues of common interest.
The EU will continue to develop partnerships in the areas of security and defence, including to address maritime security, malicious cyber activities, disinformation, emerging technologies, terrorism, and organised crime, as per the statement.
The EU and its regional partners will also work together in order to mitigate the economic and human effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and work towards ensuring an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic recovery, it said.
The Council has tasked the High Representative and the Commission with putting forward a Joint Communication on cooperation in the Indo-Pacific by September 2021.
On April 14, European Council President Charles Michel had said that (EU) is not just an economic partner of India but is also determined to play a role in the security of the Indo-Pacific region. He was speaking at the sixth edition of Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi.