Trump administration set to announce major Indo-Pacific economic, developmental initiatives

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration is all set to roll out its major policy initiatives to address the massive infrastructural and energy needs of the Indo-Pacific region where India is seen as one of the anchor countries for greater connectivity and trade.
President Donald Trump has lined up his top Cabinet members – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Energy Secretary Rick Perry – at US Chambers of Commerce which is hosting the first Indo-Pacific Business Forum meeting tomorrow.
The Forum will introduce the economic and commercial elements of the US’ whole-of-government Indo-Pacific strategy and will include participation from senior administration officials, private sector and officials representing Indo-Pacific nations. The move comes nine months after the Trump administration openly spoke against the “predatory economic policies of an Asian giant” that threatens to eat into sovereignty of countries in Indo-Pacific, which has now emerged as a critical engine for growth.
Asian economies are now projected to create 50 per cent of global GDP in coming decades.To realise that potential, countries of the Indo-Pacific will need to attract nearly $26 trillion in capital from the private sector and not the government to fund their energy and infrastructure needs, Nisha Desai Biswal, president of the US India Business Council (USIBC) said.
She said American companies will be critical players in both investment of capital and technology-building and infrastructure that the region requires.
“It’s an event that brings together business, private sector and many of our partners from the region to have a conversation about how we can boost engagement investment across the Indo Pacific,” Biswal, a key player in this initiative, told PTI ahead of the first Forum.
In addition to Pompeo, Ross and Perry envisioning the administration’s policies for the Indo-Pacific region, other top administration officials include USAID Administrator Mark Green, OPIC President Ray Washburne, Acting Ex-Im Bank Chairman Jeffrey Gerrish, and US Chamber President and CEO Thomas J Donohue.
“All would be making announcements or sharing key investment opportunities that they are advancing in the Indo-Pacific region,” Desai said.
The Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Singh Sarna, is among the few diplomats from the region who have been invited to speak during the forum event.
Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, would provide Congressional perspective on how it’s important for the US public and private sector to be engaged in the Indo-Pacific region.“What we hope that there will be a lot of outcomes that come from this Indo Pacific Business Forum,” said Biswal, who served as the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia in the second term of the Obama administration.