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Keynote Address by Secretary [CPV & OIA] at India-EU Seminar on Sharing of Good Practices on Migration Governance (July 10, 2019)

July 10, 2019

Namaskar, Good Morning, and let me also say Kalimera – as our Chief Guest this morning is from Greece.
Your Excellency Paraskevi MICHOU, Director General, Migration & Home Affairs, European Commission,
Your Excellency Tomasz KOZLOWSKI – Ambassador of the European Union to India,
Excellencies, Ambassadors of EU countries and Heads of International Organisations who are present here,
Mr. Vinod Jacob, Joint Secretary, Overseas Indian Affairs Division - I and other colleagues from Government of India and State Governments,

Distinguished Speakers, Ladies and Gentlemen,


It gives me great pleasure to address today’s seminar on sharing of good practices on migration governance along the India-EU Corridor.

At the outset, I would like to warmly welcome the Director General and her accompanying delegation to India, and hope that this would be the first of many visits by the Director General to our country. I would also like to compliment and thank the ILO team in Delhi, and the India Center for Migration, a think tank on migration issues functioning under the aegis of the Ministry of External Affairs and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development [ICMPD] for their collaborative efforts in organizing today’s seminar.

It is heartening that India-EU seminars are the flavour of the season during this Indian summer! This event is being held within a month of an India-EU Seminar on Talent Mobility organised in Pune by ILO, ICM and other partners, with a special focus on three significant and growing business sectors i.e. IT industry, automotive industry and start-ups. I am glad that we are continuing our discourse at the Pune event and the programme of today’s seminar includes several important issues related to migration and mobility between India and the European Union. By way of starters, my colleagues Director Shashank Vikram and Under Secretary Nishikant Singh have shared a good practice on local migration by facilitating the participation of Officer Trainees of 2018 Batch of the Indian Foreign Service, currently under training at our Foreign Service Institute, in this seminar!

This seminar is being organized under the overarching framework of the strategic partnership between India and the European Union, of which the Joint Declaration on a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility [CAMM] between India and the European Union and its Member States, signed on March 29, 2016, is an important dimension. One of the important mechanisms envisaged in CAMM is the India-EU High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility [HLDMM] which steers the implementation of the consensus in the CAMM. This has become an important feature of our multi-faceted engagement and cooperation with the European Union. I am looking forward to co-chairing, along with Director General MICHOU, the 5th High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility [HLDMM] between India and the European Union in New Delhi tomorrow.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

India-EU relations have come a long way since India established diplomatic relations with the erstwhile European Economic Community in 1962. The relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership during the 5th India-EU Summit held at The Hague in 2004. In 2013, both sides celebrated the golden jubilee of their engagement, in fact, marriage, if I may say so!

The EU, as a group of 28 countries, is India’s largest regional trading partner while India was the EU’s 9th largest trading partner in 2017. India’s bilateral trade with EU-28 in 2017-18 stood at $101.27 billion with India’s exports valued at $53.43 billion and India’s imports from the EU at $47.84 billion. This is the highest ever bilateral trade attained in goods between the two sides.

Friends,

The times that we all live in offer enormous opportunities to both India and the Member States of the European Union for shared prosperity and progress. Migration and mobility, in a holistic way, have an important contribution in pursuing these opportunities to our mutual benefit. I am using the expression ‘migration and mobility’ in a composite way, including transfer and sharing of technology; trade and investments; knowledge and information; and of course, human resources. In today’s world, the term ‘brain drain’ is an anachronism – it is, in fact, brain circulation that presents a win-win situation for both sides.

Friends,

We also face common challenges – scourge of terrorism; transnational crimes and other threats. Our constructive engagement and expanding partnership, including through suitable migration and mobility flows, would enable us to combat these challenges more effectively.

We need to appreciate that the modern global economic system inherently is based upon a certain amount of international migration of workers and professionals, along with mobility of capital and goods and services. There are a number of respected international academic studies that corroborate how international migration, as part of the international economic system, makes extensive positive contribution to economies and societies in the countries of destination as well as origin. Thus, migration as a global phenomenon needs to be managed by establishing collaborative frameworks of its governance.

I would also like to highlight the complementarities which exist between the requirements of skills and talents in the European Union Member States and the vast reservoir of young, educated and skilled persons in India, who can contribute positively to our multi-dimensional cooperation with EU countries. India’s strong demographics, with over 50% of its population of 1.3 billion people being below the age of 25 years and nearly 70% of the population below the age of 35 years, also offer a vast opportunity in the context of our partnership.

India, with one-sixth of world’s population, has over 30 million strong diaspora contributing to economies and societies in various ways in their countries of destination. As India is moving towards becoming a USD 5 trillion economy before 2025, with envisaged contribution of USD 3 trillion from services sector, a well-managed mobility of students; researchers; academics; skilled personnel; professionals and entrepreneurs along the India-EU corridor would be beneficial for all.

On its part, Government of India has greatly enhanced its focus on the entire range of issues relating to Indian emigrants over the complete migration cycle, especially those with lesser skills. For example, the e-migrate portal has completely transformed the way in which migrant workers interact with government offices. The portal not only enables the migrant worker to verify the credentials of his recruitment agent and foreign employer but is also integrated with our immigration authorities to enable his/her smooth transit through the airports, thus ensuring a safe and harmonious emigration. The e-migrate is also integrated with MADAD portal, an online platform to address consular grievances and is aimed at extending a helping hand to Indian nationals abroad in need of consular assistance. Going forward, Government of India is keen to sharpen the focus on skill-sets needed abroad which include language training as well as focus on new-age skills like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, Big Data, 3D Printing, Virtual Reality and Robotics, which are valued highly both within and outside the country. These are just a few illustrations.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have tried to share some information, thoughts and perspectives in the context of the theme of today’s seminar. I am confident that the sharing of information, knowledge, perspectives, experiences and good practices during the course of this event would set the stage for the 5th India-EU High Level Dialogue on Migration and Mobility led by Her Excellency Director General Paraskevi MICHOU and myself, and make a positive contribution to further strengthening our partnership.

I thank you all.

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