By Ayushi Agarwal
New Delhi [India], May 10 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will participate in the European Union’s (EU’s) second Indo-Pacific ministerial forum, which is to be hosted by Sweden on May 13 this month. It will be co-chaired by EU High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, and Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tobias Billstrom.
The meeting will bring together around 60 foreign ministers from the Indo-Pacific region and the EU, along with representatives of Indo-Pacific regional organisations and other partners. China and Taiwan aren’t expected to be part of the forum.
‘We are glad to have a high degree of participation of about 60 participants and would like to underline that the G20 chair, Foreign Minister Jaishankar will be there from India. The G7 Chair Foreign Minister Hayashi from Japan will be there, said an EU Senior official.
During the forum, three parallel roundtable sessions will be held with about twenty participants each, including two co-moderators.
The topic of the three roundtables will be ‘Building more sustainable and inclusive prosperity together’, ‘Pursuing green opportunities and overcoming global challenges in cooperation’ and ‘Facing jointly the evolving security landscape in the Indo-Pacific’.
On China not being invited to the forum, the Senior EU official said it has never engaged with any partners in the framework of the Indo-Pacific which it criticises, although the EU continues its multifaceted engagement with China.
“China has never engaged with any partners in the framework of Indo-Pacific concepts which it criticises. That, however, doesn’t mean that the EU wouldn’t engage with China. We have indeed open engagement on many key issues including several of the priority issue in our indo – Pacific strategy from ocean governance to name a few. The key areas of cooperation we have as a possibility with China in the run-up to a summit which may take place later,” the official said.
The EU, therefore, continues its multifaceted engagement with China but not in the framework of this policy. The EU’s commitment in the Indo-Pacific is, therefore, inclusive of all partners wishing to cooperate with the EU in this concept and of course, it doesn’t replace various forms of bilateral engagement across the region, the senior EU official added.
During the main day of the forum, Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom and High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell will greet the ministers at the meeting venue that will also see the presence of HM The King and HRH The Crown Princess of Sweden.
The Senior EU official also highlighted the first ministerial forum that took place in February last year, saying that it is an opportunity to have candid free-flowing exchanges between the participants.
“The first Indo-Pacific ministerial forum was organized by the French presidency in February last year in Paris under dramatic circumstances when we knew that that Russian attack on Ukraine was imminent,” the official said.
“Now it’s one year of implementation of the strategy and it is an opportunity to have candid free-flowing exchanges, which will essentially take place in the roundtable but also at the opening and the closing sessions with interventions from all sides’,” the senior EU official added. (ANI)
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