The inaugural Indo-Pacific Conference, held in London on Thursday (30 November), was jointly hosted by the Indian and Australian High Commissions in the UK. The event, lasting the entire day, assembled diplomats, stakeholders from think-tanks, civil society, and the business sector.
According to The Hindu, their focus was on exploring ways in which India, Australia, and the UK could collaborate to tackle regional security issues, bolster resilience, and boost stability.
India's High Commissioner to the UK, Vikram Doraiswami, highlighted the enduring dedication of India and Australia towards fostering a vision of a free, open, and secure Indo-Pacific.
He noted that this commitment is mirrored in the robustness of their bilateral relationship. Additionally, he pointed out that our perspectives are progressively being echoed by other crucial partners, such as the US, Japan, ASEAN, and Korea, with whom we maintain bilateral and plurilateral relationships.
He added that the heightened interest from the UK, under its Global Britain policy, to collaborate with countries like India and Australia in pursuit of this objective, is greatly welcomed.
Australian High Commissioner Stephen Smith emphasised that as three closely associated partners, we each have a significant part to play in the Indo-Pacific. He urged for increased collaboration to bolster a secure, resilient, and prosperous region.
The Council of Geostrategy, a think-tank, along with Kings College, London, were also included by the conference organisers.
In response to a query, Doraiswami upheld India's credibility as a security ally, despite accusations that the government was involved in the termination of separatists in friendly nations. The High Commissioner dismissed these allegations.
"Firstly, I challenge the notion that the government has any involvement," he stated, referring to the ongoing investigation.
Regarding the dependability of India as a security ally, Doraiswami expressed that each nation must evaluate its own history.
He expressed his belief that partnerships are built on shared interests and values, which he feels are common with all their partners.
In response to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's repeated claims that the Indian government was responsible for the June murder of Sikh separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia, Doraiswami commented, "This is simply an allegation, nothing more than that."
On Wednesday, US prosecutors disclosed charges against an Indian national involved in an alleged murder-for-hire plot aimed at assassinating a Khalistani separatist and US citizen in New York earlier this year.
The charges suggest that an official from the Indian government orchestrated the planned murder. The indictment also mentions the murder of Nijjar.
"Both of us hold the rule of law in high regard, as well as the laws of contract, and we diligently and intimately collaborate with each other," stated Mr. Smith.
He emphasised the importance of permitting the findings of the probe to come to light.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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