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English translation of Press Statement by External Affairs Minister on 15th RIC Meeting in New Delhi (December 11, 2017)

December 11, 2017

Namaskar, Good afternoon

Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Lavrov and I had discussions today on global and regional issues of common concern in the 15th RIC Foreign Ministers' Dialogue.

The discussions included issues like the challenges of the global economy, increasing terrorism, transnational organized crime, smuggling of drugs, natural and man-made disasters, climate change, and changing political scenario in Middle East and North Africa.

This is my third RIC meeting as External Affairs Ministers of India, the last being in Moscow in April 2016. These annual talks give an opportunity to us three countries to exchange our mutual views with each other and identify our contributions to international peace, security and development.

Our discussions today were focused on four broad cluster of areas, namely, Economic and Developmental issues; Fight against terrorism; Global / Multilateral issues; and, Regional issues.

In the recently released Ease of Doing Business report by World Bank India has improved its position from 142nd in 2014 to 100th place this year. I have invited China and Russia for a more intensive trade and economic partnership so that they can take advantage of the economic opportunities available here.

I pointed out that the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) mirror India’s own vision of development. The UN Summit on Sustainable Development held on 25 September 2015 in New York has 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets with poverty eradication as its overarching focus.

Government of India’s initiatives such as Smart Cities, Make in India, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Swachh Bharat, Jan Dhan Yojana, Digital India, Skill India, Startup India etc., closely relate to several targets under the SDGs.

While discussing terrorism, I put across my view that significant rise in acts of terrorism by terrorist organizations like Taliban, Daesh (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, and LeT directly undermine international peace and security and endanger ongoing efforts to strengthen the global economy and ensure sustainable growth and development. India strongly recommends a comprehensive policy for dealing with global terrorism.

The policy should include dealing with extremism, countering religious fanaticism, preventing recruitment of terrorists, disrupting terrorist movements, stopping all sources for financing of terrorism, stopping flow of FTFs (Foreign Terrorist Fighters), dismantling terrorist infrastructure, and countering terrorist propaganda through the internet, but we should not limit ourselves to these only.

To combat climate change, I argued that we should ensure a fair implementation of the Paris Agreement based on the principles laid down in the Convention (UNFCCC), especially equity and Common but Differentiated Responsibility.

We also had detailed discussion on a range of regional issues.

First Russia-India-China trilateral discussions on Asia-Pacific affairs were organized in December, 2016. Welcoming these discussions, I proposed that it’s next meeting to be held in 2018 in New Delhi. I am happy that this proposal has been accepted.

I also proposed that the dialogue between RIC young diplomats organized by China in January 2017 should be carried forward. Next year we will welcome young diplomats from China and Russia to India.

In addition to our tri-lateral engagement, I had the opportunity to have separate meetings with Foreign Minister Lavrov and with Foreign Minister Wang Yi and discuss our bilateral relations in a comprehensive manner. We had a frank and forward-looking exchange on a wide-range of issues.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi and I agreed that we should further strengthen our mutual trust to develop a better understanding between the two parties. And it will be better to meet again and without agenda, which will help us to expand our mutual understanding.

Foreign Minister Lavrov and I reviewed our bilateral relations and both of us were satisfied that this is the 70th year of establishing diplomatic relations between us and more than 100 programs were organized in the two countries to commemorate the 70th anniversary. It is well-known that relations between India and Russia are very close and friendly.

In the end, I would unabashedly say that this trilateral forum RIC, which was established in 2002, is working very effectively. Its meetings are being conducted regularly and it provides us with a platform where the three major countries of the world, Russia, China and India, can openly have discussion on issues among themselves as well as other international and regional issues. Today's meeting also took place in a very cordial atmosphere and was very meaningful.

Thank you.

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