News Excerpt
India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, and Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade and Industryheld a ministerial video conference.

Pre-Connect
•    India, Australia, and Japan are the crucial players in the Indo- Pacific region.
•    During 2019, the three countries have the cumulative GDP of $ 9.3 trillion while cumulative merchandise goods and services trade were $ 2.7 trillion and $0.9 trillion respectively.
•    With such a strong baseline, it is important that India, Australia, and Japan use this opportunity to work towards enhancing the share of trade and investment in the region.

Highlights
    The Ministers reaffirmed their determination to take a lead in delivering a free, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable and stable trade and investment environment and in keeping their markets open.
    In light of the COVID-19 crisis and the recent global-scale changes in the economic and technological landscape, the Ministers underscored the necessity and potential to enhance the resiliency of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region.
    Recognizing the pressing need for regional cooperation on supply chain resilience in the Indo- Pacific, the Ministers shared their intention to work toward the launch of a new initiative to achieve the objective through cooperation. They instructed their officials to promptly work out the details of the new initiative for its launch later this year. The Ministers noted the important role of business and academia in realizing the objective.
    The Ministers called for other countries in the region, which share the afore-mentioned views, to participate in the initiative.

Conclusion
The initiative could not have come at a more opportune time in the post COVID scenario when there is a likelihood of re-churning of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region and it is incumbent upon the three nations to take the initiative.