New Delhi, Sep 16 (PTI) The European Union on Thursday unveiled a new strategy to step up its strategic engagement in the Indo-Pacific and contribute to the region's stability, security, prosperity, in line with the principles of democracy and rule of law.

The strategy focuses on the EU stepping up the implementation of its connectivity partnerships with India and Japan and supporting partners in establishing a regulatory environment and facilitating the mobilisation of the necessary funding to improve connectivity between Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

The document also mentioned the need for resuming trade negotiations with India, completing the EU's trade negotiations with Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand, and firming up an economic partnership agreement with the East Africa community.

It also specifically mentioned exploring ways to ensure enhanced naval deployments by EU member states to help protect the sea lines of communication and freedom of navigation in the Indo-Pacific while ensuring maritime security.

The strategy paper listed a number of specific steps to increase the EU's engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

The 27-nation EU said it will deepen its engagement with partners in the Indo-Pacific to respond to emerging dynamics that are affecting regional stability.

European Commission's president Ursula von der Leyen said the EU is offering a "strengthened partnership" to advance trade, investment and connectivity while addressing common global challenges and reinforcing the rules-based international order.

"The economic, demographic, and political weight of the Indo-Pacific region is expanding, from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific island states," she said.

"With today's proposals, and guided by our values, we are offering a strengthened partnership to advance trade, investment and connectivity, while addressing common global challenges and reinforcing the rules-based international order," Leyen said.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said the world's centre of gravity is moving towards the Indo Pacific, both in geo-economic and geo-political terms.   "The futures of the EU and the Indo-Pacific are interlinked. The EU is already the top investor, the leading development cooperation partner and one of the biggest trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

"Our engagement aims at maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific for all, while building strong and lasting partnerships to cooperate on matters from the green transition, ocean governance or the digital agenda to security and defence," Borrell added.