Public Diplomacy Public Diplomacy

Opening remarks by External Affairs Minister at the 12th IOR-ARC Council of Ministers Meeting

November 02, 2012

Excellencies,
Distinguished Leaders and Delegates,
Representatives of the Media,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

I extend a very warm welcome toall ofyou tothe 12th Council of Ministers’ Meeting ofIndian OceanRim Associationfor Regional Cooperation at Gurgaon. The city o fGurgaon is rightfully called the industrial  and financial power houseof the State of Haryana, and its vitality and dynamism perfectly complement those of India’s Capital, New Delhi.

I do hope that you are all comfortable and have had an opportunity for some rest after your arrival.

This isthe second and last meetingof theCouncil ofMinisters underIndia’s currentChairmanship of ourAssociation. Over the last year, since we assumed the Chair at Bengaluru last November, India has workedclosely withher IORARCpartners tofurther deepen and consolidate our cooperation in pursuit o four shared objectives.

We have taken our agenda forward and a number of activities have been successfully concluded in each of the six priority areas identified for IORARC at Bengaluru, namely maritimesecurity andsafety, disasterrisk reduction,trade &investment facilitation,fisheries management,academic and S&T cooperation,and tourismand cultural exchanges.

It gives me pleasure to report that several programmes were undertaken under these priority areas. These include a professional course for diplomats from IORARC countries, a workshop on coastal zone management, a meeting of Heads of National Archives of our countries, a mobile exhibition of archival documents from IORARC countries and a separate IORARC segment in the forthcoming International Film Festival of India in Goa this month. The first meeting of the Core Group on Cultural Cooperation, the 13thMeeting of the Working Group of Heads of Mission and a meeting to finalize the Draft Constitution of the University Mobility in the Indian Ocean Region were held in South Africa earlier this year.The Regional Centre for Science and Technology Transfer hosted a number of useful programmes to further our cooperation in the arena of Science and Technology.

The IORARC Report on Trade and Investment prepared by the Indian think-tank ‘Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries’ (RIS) was released followed by two very useful workshops on Trade Facilitation and Customs Harmonization, and on Trade Policy, held in India and Australia earlier this year. The active participation by member countries in all these programmes is a reaffirmation of our collective commitment to our Association. These initiatives have helped further consolidation of the cooperative agenda.

A mid-term meeting of Committee of Senior Officials was held in Mauritius in May this year under India’s Chairmanship to take stock of the progress in our cooperation.India has made the payment of US$ 1 million towards the Special Fund as was committed by us at Bengaluru in November 2011.

These are a few highlights of the activities over the last one year. The Secretary General and the Chairman of the Committee of Senior Officials would provide details later in the day.

India, as the Chair, is committed to maintain the momentum gained by our Association during the last one year in pursuit of our aim to deliver tangible benefits to the peoples of the IOR region.

Excellencies,

Before I proceed further, I would liketo placeon recordour appreciationfor ourofficials, businesschambers andacademics, aswell as the IORARCSecretariat, forthe hardwork theyhave putin to prepare for ourmeeting today.

With these few words, I have the honour to declare open the 12th Council of Ministers’ Meeting.

I request the Secretary General to make his opening remarks.

Gurgaon
November 2, 2012



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