In News: The US and its allies — Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom — have launched a new initiative called ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ for “effective and efficient cooperation” with the region’s small island nations.
What is Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) initiative?
- The PBP is a five-nation “informal mechanism” to support Pacific islands and to boost diplomatic, economic ties in the region.
- It speaks of enhancing “prosperity, resilience, and security” in the Pacific through closer cooperation.
- Through the PBP, the counties — together and individually — will direct more resources here to counter China’s aggressive outreach.
- The initiative members have also declared that they will “elevate Pacific regionalism”, and forge stronger ties with the Pacific Islands Forum.
- The areas where PBP aims to enhance cooperation include “climate crisis, connectivity and transportation, maritime security and protection, health, prosperity, and education”.
How is China trying to transform its ties in the Pacific?
- Recently China signed a security pact with Solomon Islands, the deal flagged serious concerns about the Chinese military getting a base in the southern Pacific, close to the US island territory of Guam, and right next to Australia and New Zealand.
- Its failed attempt to push 10 Pacific nations to endorse a “game-changing” agreement called the “Common Development Vision” – where it intended to work with “traditional and non-traditional security,” and expand law enforcement cooperation with these countries.
- China indicated that it would continue pursuing this goal.
What is being done by the US and its allies to counter China?
- The US and its partners started the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a trade-boosting play in the region with 13 nations
- Recently G7 announced a plan — Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) — to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative by promising to raise $600 billion to fund development projects in low and middle-income countries.
- And now the new initiative ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ for “effective and efficient cooperation” with the region’s small island nations
Why is the Pacific region strategically important?
- In its 2019 strategy report, the US Department of Defence called the Indo-Pacific the “single most consequential region for America’s future”.
- Spanning a vast stretch of the globe from the west coast of the United States to the western shores of India,
- the region is home to the world’s most populous state (China),
- most populous democracy (India), and largest Muslim-majority state (Indonesia),
- and includes over half of the earth’s population.
- Among the 10 largest standing armies in the world, 7 reside in the Indo-Pacific;
- and 6 countries in the region possess nuclear weapons.
- Nine of the world’s 10 busiest seaports are in the region,
- and 60 percent of global maritime trade transits through Asia, with roughly one-third of global shipping passing through the South China Sea alone.
Pacific Island Forum
- Pacific Island Forum is an ‘Inter-governmental organization’.
- It was established in year 1971.
- The objective of the organization is to work in support of Forum member governments, to enhance the economic and social well-being of the people of the South Pacific by fostering cooperation between governments and between international agencies.
- The summit of the organization held annually and which is presided by the host country.
- The summit discusses about decisions related to the development and implementations of policies in the region.
- The forum has 18 members, which are as follows- Australia, Cook Islands, Federation of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kribati, Nauru, Palau, Republic of Marshal Island, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Source: Indian Express
Previous Year Question
Q.1) With reference to ‘Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD), consider the following statements: (2017)
- The first APMCHUD was held in India in 2000 on the theme ‘Emerging urban Forms – Policy Responses and Governance Structure’.
- India hosts all the Annual Ministerial Conferences in partnership with ADB, APEC and ASEAN.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2