External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India believes that for the common prosperity and security of the Indo-Pacific region, there is a need to develop a common rules-based system through dialogue that respects the sovereignty, territorial integrity and equality of all nations. His comments come amid growing global concern about China’s projection of military power in the region.

Addressing the 4th Indo-Pacific Business Forum on Thursday, Jaishankar said that the Indo-Pacific region reflects the reality of globalization, the emergence of multipolarity and the benefits of rebalancing. “It emphasizes both our interdependence and overlap. As we talk about the common good and joint efforts, it is only natural that this is dealt with among other means, through a business forum,” he said. Jaishankar said that India regards the Indo-Pacific region as a free, open and inclusive region that brings together all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity.

It includes all countries in this geography and also attracts others who have an interest in it, he said. “India believes that our common prosperity and security requires us to develop through dialogue a common rules-based order in the region. Such an order should respect sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law as well as the equality of all nations,” Jaishankar said. “It stipulates that states must have access to the use of common spaces in the sea and air that require freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded trade, and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law,” he said.

His statements gain significance because a number of countries have territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea. Jaishankar emphasized that India supports a fair, open, balanced, rules-based and stable international trading system in the region. He said India’s approach relies on cooperation and cooperation given the need for joint responses to common challenges in the region.

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