Netherlands seeks to align its Indo-Pacific vision with India: Envoy

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Netherlands is very supportive of the proposed India-EU Free Trade Agreement and as one of the three European countries to frame Indo-Pacific vision desires to expand partnership with New Delhi in the Indo-Pacific region.

Indo-Pacific is the region of growth and India is the key power in that region. “Netherlands recognises this fact and our Indo-Pacific vision seeks to closely align with India’s construct,” Netherlands Ambassador to India Marten Van den Berg told ET.

“The Netherlands and India have robust trade and investment partnership. We are hopeful that India and EU would be able to conclude trade deals for widening economic partnership,” the envoy affirmed.

When asked about the EU-China investment pact Van den Berg explained that this pact will enable China to function within rules and framework.

The geopolitical and geo-economic balance of power is shifting rapidly. The importance of the Indo-Pacific region is growing. To adequately promote Dutch and other European economic and political interests there – the world’s primary growth region – the Netherlands and the EU need to step up their efforts in the Indo-Pacific and develop a distinctive Dutch and EU vision of the region, according to the Netherlands vision for Indo-Pacific region.

The Netherlands and the EU will benefit from closer cooperation – both bilaterally and through the EU – with the countries in the region, and especially with like-minded democracies and countries with open market economies, according to Netherlands envoy. “Like the Netherlands, these countries are committed to effective multilateralism and recognise that a properly functioning international legal order is in their interests.”

“Partnerships with these countries should focus primarily on promoting our interests in the areas of the international legal order, democracy and human rights, sustainable trade, security and stabiity, safe passage and maritime security, climate change, global healthcare and poverty reduction,” according to the Netherlands Indo-Pacific vision.

The EU has the world’s biggest market, and its approximately $90 billion in annual investments in the Indo-Pacific (roughly equivalent to total FDI flows within Europe itself) make it one of the main investors and donors in the region. For its part the Netherlands is one of the EU’s biggest investors and donors (in the top five).

The growing interest in the Indo-Pacific region, and the use of the term Indo-Pacific as a geopolitical concept, show that the world’s economic and political centre of gravity has shifted towards the Indian and Pacific Oceans and the lands that border on them. Two-thirds of the world’s oil shipping and a third of its freight transport cross the Indian Ocean, which has now surpassed the Atlantic as the planet’s main strategic trade route. The main shipping routes are also in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, including the Straits of Hormuz and Malacca.

The Indian and Pacific Oceans are of crucial importance for Asia, Europe, North and South America and Africa. The Netherlands and Europe in general have major economic and geopolitical interests in the Indo- Pacific.

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