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May 10, 2017

Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

  • May I begin by thanking our generous hosts, and in particular H.E. Mr. Luhut Pandjaitan, for their warm and thoughtful hospitality. Indonesia is a land of peace, plurality and a vibrant cultural joy that is a balm and message in any time of turbulence.
  • We who live on the Blue Planet have long understood that oceans thrive when they are shared space, and wither when anyone attempts to exercise hegemony. From ancient times, land has been – exceptions apart – a theatre of conflict and the seas a source of prosperity. The great sea powers of the past understood that responsible utilization was the key to the common good. The oceans have no walls. Let us make Blue the colour of peace and shared prosperity. We meet to give the Indian Ocean a modern purpose, to make it a central space in the geo-economics of the 21st century.
  • Shared prosperity demands shared security. Security is best protected by the rule of law, and we must all honour the international laws that govern maritime behavior, in both letter and spirit. No one can be above the law.
  • There is of course always the enormous threat from the outlaw – those who use terrorism to spread havoc. We welcome the ‘Declaration on Preventing and Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism’, which identified this evil as a common menace and reiterate our resolve to fight this life-threatening poison. All of us share the belief that there is no good terrorism or bad terrorism; this is an unmitigated evil.
  • Today’s sustained economic growth across the Indian Ocean is proof that the world’s economic engines are purring to a new tune in the 21st century. We in IORA must turn this into the harmony of a great choir, where each of us is an equal voice. The 21st century will be shaped by the principles of equality and sovereignty. Those who believe in discord have no place in a choir.
  • India’s Indian Ocean outreach is termed ‘SAGAR’ by which we seek a future for Indian Ocean that provides Security and Growth for All in the Region. For us, the most important aspect of this economy is that this economy serves the poor. Our goal is not just poverty alleviation, it is poverty elimination.
  • Our common commitment to the Blue Economy in IORA sits alongside the six priority areas. In the 2014 COM, we had also adopted Blue Economy as the cardinal principle for sustainable ocean-based growth and for generating employment and ensuring sustainability in business and economic models in the region.
  • Financing of Blue Economy initiatives will require inter-governmental cooperation within each of our states, augmented by international co-operation, in technology transfer, capacity building or sharing of assets.
  • We are happy that the Special Task Force on Blue Economy set up by our apex Chamber of Commerce and Industry, FICCI has submitted its report. This report is not just India-specific but significant for all Member States. The copies of the published report have been distributed and we look forward to a short presentation later this afternoon by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, who is the Chair of the Task Force.
  • We seek a more cooperative and integrated future for the region through overall development of blue economy, promoting increased cooperation in trade, tourism and investment, infrastructure development, marine science and technology, sustainable fisheries and protection of marine environment.
  • Friends, we must never forget that we inherit the extraordinary wisdom of those of our ancestors who believed in trade and civilization, not in war or supremacy. India has been an international hub of manufacture and trade, since ancient times, from Bali to Rome. Pliny the Roman historian during Caesar’s age, complained with a groan heard across the Roman empire that each year India earned at least 50 million sesterces from its manufacture. There was an India bazaar in Rome. Today, there is an annual fair in Cuttack called Baliyatra to commemorate a golden age of shared prosperity.
  • In the seeds of our past lie the fruits of our future – if we can cultivate the present as a family of friends.

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