The vision of a prosperous Indo-Pacific and its significance to the sustainable development of the North East region of India by creating resilient value chains, facilitating trade, further developing connectivity infrastructure while aligning to the aspirations of the people of the region was highlighted by several eminent experts and policymakers at a unique dialogue on the theme: A Prosperous Indo-Pacific: Enhancing Cooperation in India’s Northeast and Eastern Neighbourhood. Organized by The Asian Confluence in collaboration with the Australian Consulate-General Kolkata, it had high level participation from both India and Australia.
In his inaugural address, H. E. Barry O’ Farrell, Australian High Commissioner to India highlighted that Australia regards India as a natural leader in the region and said “Connecting northeast India and Bay of Bengal countries with a resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific is important for the region’s continued economic development. Through enhanced connectivity and trade, the northeast can become a gateway to neighbouring and ASEAN countries”. He further added “The disruptions caused by COVID 19 have led to the need to build resilient supply chains not just for essential medical supply and pharmaceuticals but also for agriculture, manufacturing, etc.”
In her keynote address, Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East), MEA highlighted India’s SAGAR (Security and growth for all in the region) Initiative, which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. She also said that India has announced the Indo Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) with its 7 pillars of cooperation While spelling out the details of many of the connectivity projects underway, she said “Given our geographic location, connectivity comes naturally to us and there has been a renewed focus on connectivity, both within India as well as with our partner countries”. In his welcome remarks, Mr. Madan Prasad Bezbaruah, Chairman of the Asian Confluence Governing Council, highlighted that sustainability should be the driving force of prosperity and how the pandemic has brought up new areas of focus like health, infrastructure cooperation, and capacity development.