NEW DELHI: India joined the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) that was conceived by US President Joseph R Biden and launched in Tokyo on Monday, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he expects it to become the engine of global economic growth.
The IPEF covers half the population of the world and more than 60% of the global GDP. “India has historically been at the centre of trade flows in the Indo-Pacific region, having the world’s oldest commercial port in Lohtal, Gujarat. India is committed towards working with all Indo-Pacific countries for an IPEF which is both inclusive and flexible. The foundation of resilient supply chains must be 3Ts — Trust, Transparency and Timeliness,” Modi said.
India is looking forward to collaborating with partner countries under the IPEF framework and work towards advancing regional economic connectivity, integration and boosting trade and investment within the region.
“The nations represented here today and those who will join this framework in future are signing up to work towards an economic vision that will deliver for all peoples. The vision for Indo-Pacific is free and open,’’ said Biden.
The IPEF seeks to strengthen economic partnership amongst participating countries with the objective of enhancing resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region, according to a joint statement issued on IPEF.
Amongst those who attended the event virtually were leaders from Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The IPEF will initiate discussions on trade, supply chains, clean energy, decarbonisation, and Infrastructure and Tax and Anti-Corruption among member nations.
Meanwhile, India and the US signed an Investment Incentive Agreement (IIA) that superseded a similar pact in 1997. The IIA was signed by Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and US CEO of International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) Scott Nathan. The IIA is a legal requirement for DFC, which covers various programmes, including debt, investment guarantee, investment insurance or reinsurance, and feasibility studies for potential projects and grants.
It isn’t a traditional free-trade pact: US
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said the IPEF is not a traditional free trade agreement, adding new challenges need new approaches. The IPEF is part of US efforts to counter China’s aggression on trade in the region