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Citing ancient port of Lothal, PM Modi says India has been the centre of Indo-Pacific trade

Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlights India's ancient trading links in the Indo-Pacific (Photo: MEA/Twitter)

Talking about reinvigorating trade and commerce between the countries of the Indo-Pacific, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out at the world's oldest commercial port in Lothal, Gujarat, saying that India has historically been at the centre of global trade in the Indo-Pacific region.

Archaeological excavations in Gujarat have unearthed the oldest man-made dockyard, believed to be around 5,000 years old in Lothal, in Ahmedabad district. The Lothal port is believed to be the only port town in the Indus Valley civilisation.

Modi, who is on a two-day visit to Japan for the Quad Summit was speaking at the launch of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) on Monday. Highlighting the importance of the initiative, Modi said that the IPEF is a declaration of a collective desire to make the Indo-Pacific region an engine of global economic growth.

In a statement, the MEA said: “The IPEF seeks to strengthen economic partnership amongst participating countries with the objective of enhancing resilience, sustainability, inclusiveness, economic growth, fairness, and competitiveness in the Indo-Pacific region”.

The IPEF seeks rebuild global supply chains which had been disrupted over the past couple of years—first by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, then by lockdowns and finally due to the Russia-Ukraine war.

In his engagements during the day, Modi engaged with the Indian diaspora where he dwelt on the friendly bonds the two nations enjoy. "It is going to be 70 years of India-Japan diplomatic relations. India and Japan are natural partners. Japan has played an important role in India's growth and development", Modi said.

Modi urged the world to follow the path shown by Buddha to save humanity from challenges like violence, anarchy, terrorism and climate change. Modi also said that India is pursuing the path to reducing emissions and becoming net-zero by 2070.

The Indian Prime Minister spoke about Indian resilience and its ability to find solutions, Modi said that even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the country supplied Made in India vaccines among its citizens and exported those to over 100 countries.

Endorsing the common platform for the wide Indo-Pacific region, Modi also stressed on the IPEF commitment to an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific which will seek to find common and creative solutions to tackle economic challenges of the region with a view to advancing regional economic connectivity, integration and boosting trade and investment within the region.

The IPEF initiative was inaugurated by US President Joe Biden in the presence of leaders from India, Japan, Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Addressing the dozen partner nations of the IPEF, Biden said: "The vision for an Indo-Pacific that is free and open and secure as well as resilient, where economic growth is sustainable and inclusive. We are writing new rules for the 21st-century economy. We are going to have all our country's economies grow faster and fair".

A White House fact sheet said that the IPEF will enable the US and the allies to decide on rules of the road that ensure American workers, small businesses, and ranchers can compete in the Indo-Pacific… Together, we represent 40 per cent of world GDP".