Public Diplomacy Public Diplomacy

Opening Remarks by External Affairs Minister at ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting, Delhi-NCR (November 11, 2013)

November 11, 2013

Hon'ble Vice President of India, H.E. Mr. M. Hamid Ansari.
Ladies & Gentlemen,

It is my privilege to welcome you all for the Opening Ceremony of the 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting in the National Capital Region, Delhi. I am extremely pleased to welcome my colleagues from ASEM countries and grateful for the effort that all of you have made to give priority to this 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting in your busy calendars.

As a reflection of the importance that we, in India, accord to ASEM, we are privileged to have Vice President Mr. Hamid Ansari inaugurate this 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting today. Vice President had led the Indian delegation to the 8th ASEM Summit in 2010 in Brussels.

India is, indeed, honoured to be the Chair for ASEM FMM11 at a crucial juncture in the evolution of ASEM. During our tenure as Chair, we have had the advantage of the depth of its political dialogue and the opportunity to seek, with your support, to add to its relevance and vitality. We are grateful that ASEM partners share this vision of ours for the future of ASEM.

Under the agenda of ASEM FMM11, we are making excellent progress to emphasize result-oriented initiatives by agreeing to work with like-minded ASEM members in areas with potential for tangible cooperation. We have agreed to bring about change in the working methods of ASEM and the nature of its outcome documents. I am glad to share with you that the meeting of our Senior Officials over the last two days has also recommended the setting up of a Working Group on a Press and Public Awareness Strategy. This will take ASEM into the homes and offices of people across Asia and Europe and allow us to bring in members of civil society, business, media and Parliaments as our partners in strengthening ASEM as a bridge between the two Continents. Our Senior Officials have also recommended the setting up of another Working Group to devise a road map for the 20th anniversary celebrations of ASEM in 2016 and had some preliminary brainstorming on this very important forthcoming landmark for ASEM.

I hope that our discussions over the next two days will move ASEM beyond a declaratory political dialogue, towards tangible deliverables and concrete action in a more determined manner.

ASEM not only brings together the two dynamic Continents of Asia and Europe but also a collective capacity, quite unparalleled in regional fora, to promote growth and development regionally and globally. This is more relevant than ever before, given the persisting global economic crises and simultaneous evolution in political-security architectures and the social transformations underway across regions.

The future of ASEM lies in taking the significance of this forum beyond select areas to a more comprehensive effort of partnership between Europe and Asia, a partnership that is anchored in bringing together our people, our economies, our strengths, all of which would allow us to build a more effective multilateral response to current challenges.

I would now request Vice President H.E. Mr. M. Hamid Ansari to inaugurate 11th ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting and share his perspective on how we can go about doing this better.

Thank You


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