Describing the Indian Ocean region as an undeniable pivot-point for the world economy, the US has said the future prosperity and stability of the region is the collective responsibility of all nations.
“The world is increasingly focused on the Indian Ocean region. This vast maritime area has become an undeniable pivot-point for the world economy and is poised to remain at the heart of global affairs for this century and beyond,” US Ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Atul Keshap said.
“The future prosperity and stability of the Indian Ocean region is the collective responsibility of all nations to ensure that the Indian Ocean region remains a place of peaceful commerce and exchange,” he said.
“To achieve this vision, the region must first and foremost find its own voice and build the necessary structures to foster development,” Keshap said in his address to the 15th Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers meeting being held in Indonesia.
Observing that the countries of IORA have common cause against a range of contemporary global threats, including terrorism, violent extremism and maritime piracy, he said IORA presents an opportunity for the Indian Ocean region to craft its own identity, to set its own priorities, build its own connections, set its own peaceful and transparent norms, and strengthen its common voice.
He that the US’s effort to “rebalance” to the Indo- Pacific region is based on the growing importance of the region.
The US is dedicating enhanced diplomatic, military, and foreign assistance resources to facilitate regional peace, economic growth and development, energy cooperation and people-to-people exchanges in the Indo-Pacific, he said.
“The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement further reflects the growing importance of this dynamic region, as does our strengthening of bilateral partnerships with key allies and partners in the region,” he said.
To achieve this vision, the region must first and foremost find its own voice and build the necessary structures to foster development, he said.
Keshap said some countries in the region are already leading by example, resolving maritime boundary issues in a peaceful manner through binding arbitration.
The United States commends the example shown by India, Bangladesh and Myanmar recently in this regard, as it shows a positive way forward for all other Indo-Pacific countries in peacefully settling complicated matters in ways that enhance regional stability and prosperity, he said.