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India, Australia, and Japan Launch Supply Chain Resilience Initiative

India, Australia, and Japan formally launched Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) at the Trilateral Ministerial Meeting of the Trade Ministers on April 27.

The SCRI will implement projects that will increase resilience of supply chains that have been “left vulnerable due to a range of factors” as per the joint statement released after the meeting. These include sharing best practices on supply chain resilience, holding investment promotion events, and buyer-seller matching events to provide opportunities for stakeholders to explore the possibility of diversification of their supply chains. The aim of SCRI is to create a “virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience” and eventually facilitate a “strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in the region.”

Mr. Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister for Commerce and Industry, Mr. Dan Tehan, Australia’s Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, and Mr. Kajiyama Hiroshi, Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry held a Trilateral Ministerial Meeting via video conference due to COVID-19.

As per the joint statement released by the Trade Ministers, a trilateral meeting will be held at least once a year to speed up the implementation of SCRI.

In a high level meeting held in September 2020, India, Australia, and Japan had expressed their intent to cooperate in building resilient supply chains that are unaffected due to natural and man made factors. In the 13th India-Japan Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue held in Tokyo in Oct 2020, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his Japanese counterpart Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu also reiterated their commitment for SCRI.

Australia’s High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to Bhutan, Mr Barry O’Farrell AO tweeted, “Welcome the launch of the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI). #COVID19 has revealed supply chain vulnerabilities & SCRI will contribute in strengthening supply chain resilience in our region, & boosting our trilateral coop. with close partners.”

The move to establish SCRI has drawn sharp responses from China.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian said, “The push to enact an artificial supply chain programme will not be favourable to the stability of the global industrial supply chain, nor to the recovery of the global economy.”

India, Australia, and Japan are also part of Quad, an informal security dialogue with the United States as fourth member.