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New Delhi [India], January 21 (ANI): Welcoming the growing interest among India's European partners, including Germany, to intensify their engagement in the Indo-Pacific region, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that New Delhi and Berlin's priorities on the Indo-Pacific including strengthening multilateralism and rule of law match and efforts could be broadened between the two countries for collaboration to include security issues in the region through joint efforts in the capacity building against maritime challenges.

"We are happy to note the commitment of the new coalition government in Germany for a free and open Indo-Pacific region based on global norms and international law. The priorities identified in Germany's Guidelines on the Indo-Pacific, particularly strengthening multilateralism, the rule of law and democracy, climate protection, trade and digitalisation, closely match with our interests," said Shringla on Friday virtually at the ORF-NMF-KAS symposium titled "Potential for Indo-European/German Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific".

The event was held to mark the arrival of the German Frigate Bayern in Mumbai as a symbol of European and Germany's pivot towards the Indo-Pacific by the Observer Research Foundation, the National Maritime Foundation and the India Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung.

Shringla during the virtual symposium also said, "Going forward, we could broaden the scope for collaboration to include security issues in the region through joint efforts in the capacity building against piracy and other maritime challenges."Stressing that India can further deepen its cooperation with Germany on matters that impinge on the national security interests of both countries, Shringla said that the cooperation can be intensified through the regular exchange of information, mutual capacity-building efforts, sharing of best practices, mutual legal assistance and cooperation in multilateral fora. "India will be hosting the third "No Money For Terror" Conference this year, and we look forward to participation from Germany in this important initiative," Shringla added.

Moreover, he said that Indo-Pacific is not just a geographical construct but is the new epicentre of global politics and global economics. "With 60 per cent of the world's population, 2/3rds of the global economic output and more than half of global trade transiting through its maritime waters," said Shringla, adding, "the importance of the Indo-Pacific region, in political, security and economic terms is not lost on any country. For India, the region has been of prime importance for centuries, bolstered by historical, cultural, maritime and economic linkages."Emphasising that India sees the Indo-Pacific as a free, open, inclusive region, which embraces all in a common pursuit of progress and prosperity, Shringla said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has encapsulated this vision in one term- SAGAR, which stands for Security and Growth for All in the Region. The term SAGAR itself means "Ocean" in several Indian languages. He also noted that India believes that our common prosperity and security require us to evolve, through dialogue, a common rules-based order for the region.

"Such an order must respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as equality of all nations," said Shringla adding, "Such an order should enable all countries to use common spaces on sea and in the air, engage in unimpeded commerce, and peacefully settle disputes in accordance with international law."Shringla also said that India's record of respecting and accepting the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) verdict on the delimitation of our maritime boundaries with two of our neighbours - Bangladesh and Myanmar, speaks for itself.

Noting that Europe and the Indo-Pacific regions are closely interlinked through strong trade and investment linkages, Shringla said that developments in the Indo-Pacific can have a direct bearing on European economies as the impact of the recent supply chain disruptions was felt by all.

"The global challenges of sustainable development, environmental protection and climate change are more acute in the region," said Shringla, adding, "They can only be addressed through a collaborative effort that promotes linkages rather than economic dependencies and debt traps.""Therefore, we believe that all countries, including those outside the region with a clear stake in the security and stability of the region, have an important role to play," added Shringla. (ANI)

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