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Transcript of onboard Media Briefing by Vice President enroute to Jakarta (March 06, 2017)

March 07, 2017

Under Secretary (DD), Shri Ashish Sharma: Good Morning Sir. Thank you for joining us for this media interaction. I would request you to deliver your initial remarks before we take up questions.

Vice President of India, Shri Hamid M. Ansari: Friends as you know we are going to attend this first ever summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association Leaders.

The formal structure of the Association is that it is the ministerial meetings which have been held all these years. This is the first summit of leaders which is being held at the initiative of the Indonesian President. So we are looking forward to it. We expect that some concrete ideas will emerge from this meeting.

As you would recall that there was a meeting which was hosted by India some years back in 2011 when six concrete areas of focused cooperation were decided. One is maritime safety and security, the other is trade and investment, third is management of fisheries, fourth is disaster management, fifth is science and technology and sixth is tourism.

On that a number of meetings have been held. We have taken a lot of initiatives in that. The Blue Economy, as the term has emerged, is where the focus is and on that several meetings have been hosted by India.

So this is broadly the approach. We hope there would be some outcomes. There would be IORA Concord and Action Plan. There our Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen V K Singh and Secretary, they both are attending the meeting. So once we get there we will know what concrete progress has been made and what happens tomorrow in the final meeting. Thank you.

Under Secretary (DD),Shri Ashish Sharma: Thank you Sir. Please identify yourself before asking questions and be brief.Question: What will be the thrust area, what will be emphasis that you would be making from Indian side at the summit?

Vice President of India, Shri Hamid M. Ansari: The thrust area will be what has already been identified. It is maritime focused gathering so obviously maritime safety and security will be main thrust area and the most important thing is that for RIM countries to be able to cooperate with each other, they need safety and security. You know we have had in the western part of the Indian Ocean literal serious problems of piracy and terrorism. So that will be one of the things.

But not only that we will move onto other things like Blue Economy which has enormous potential and has barely been touched upon. We are talking of interest of 21 member countries.Question Contd.: How serious is the piracy threat?

Vice President of India, Shri Hamid M. Ansari: For the moment it has been contained as far as the Northern Arabian Sea region is concerned, thanks to very good international cooperation. But these are the things which you have to guard against because terrorism is an international phenomenon and it surfaces in different parts of the world.Question: Are there any bilateral meetings with other member countries that are scheduled?

Vice President of India, Shri Hamid M. Ansari: I would be calling on the Chairman of the conference, President of Indonesia and then there are one or two requests that is being processed. Those meetings will take place. Usually the pattern in these conferences is that in the course of the conference meetings do take place.

Question: Trade between India and Indonesia had increased to 16 billion USD but now it is slightly decreasing. Are there any initiatives that you would be taking or any MoUs will be signed with Indonesia?

Vice President of India, Shri Hamid M. Ansari: As you recall not many months ago the President of Indonesia was in India and a number of decisions were taken. Work on that is in progress and we would like to reinvigorate our economic and trade relationship with Indonesia and also cooperation in other areas.

Question: From India’s perspective why IORA is important for us?

Vice President of India, Shri Hamid M. Ansari: I thought the question answers itself. It is Indian Ocean Rim Association. India’s relevance to Indian Ocean does not need any commentary.

The idea developed as it develops in other parts of the world that way to countries on oceans have certain common areas of interests and certain places where concerns can be addressed. Atlantic is the oldest one, but you have got Pacific Rim Association. So Indian Ocean being one of the three big oceans of the world and a large number of countries, I think total number of countries on the literal could be about 36. 21 had joined this association, all the important ones. Then there are dialogue partners outside this, so obviously people feel the need for exchange of ideas and demarcation of areas of cooperation.

Under Secretary (DD), Shri Ashish Sharma: There are no other questions so this concludes the press briefing. Thank you Sir and thank all of you.

(Concludes)

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