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Foreign Secretary’s Remarks at the Thematic Discussion on ‘Growing Role of Asia in International Affairs and Related Adaptation of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA)’

June 23, 2021

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

I thank the CICA Secretariat under its dynamic Executive Director for organizing today’s meeting in a virtual mode in a pandemic-affected time. Let me take this opportunity to convey my appreciation for Kazakhstan’s endeavours as the Chair of CICA to put forth new initiatives to advance exchanges and activities among CICA member states. We will continue to engage with them in a constructive spirit to promote our shared interests.

2. As a founding member of CICA, India values CICA’s vision of promoting peace, security and prosperity in Asia. It is congruent with India’s fundamental philosophy of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam, which means that the whole world is one family.

3. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented global challenges, exposing vulnerabilities and underscoring our interdependence in Asia and across the world. This interdependence has also been our greatest strength as we collectively battle this crisis. Over the past year, India has provided COVID-19 related pharmaceuticals, vaccines and medical equipment to more than 150 countries, including to CICA member states. In that same spirit of friendship and solidarity, we extend deep appreciation to those that have provided us with some priority requirements to battle the second wave of the pandemic in India in the preceeding months.

4. This spirit of mutual support among countries in Asia, with its huge population, vast market and inherent vibrancy, can be an asset to help us rebound from the adverse medical, economic and social consequences that the pandemic has left in its wake. While the pandemic exposed the fault lines from the vulnerability of global supply chains to inequitable vaccine distribution, it has also underlined the need for global solidarity and strengthened multilateralism. The re-imagined post-pandemic world will make profoundly different demands from the multilateral system, which must evolve so as to be fit for purpose and capable of inspiring confidence in its ability to effectively meet those demands.

5. India’s clarion call for a reformed multilateralism, which reflects appreciation of contemporary geopolitical realities, is a pressing need now more than ever before. Multilateral institutions must be made more accountable to their membership, they must be open and welcoming to a diversity of viewpoints and cognisant of new voices, especially those from Asia. The United Nations Security Council must be made more representative of developing countries in order to build trust and confidence in its ability to provide leadership to the entire world.India values a multipolar international order, underpinned by international law, premised upon respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, resolution of international disputes through peaceful negotiations, and free and open access for all to the global commons.

6. In Asia, we face the challenges of terrorism, radicalization, drug trafficking and organised crime. To face these diverse challenges, we need to undertake concerted action. India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific as a free, open and inclusive region underpinned by international law is premised on the common pursuit of progress and prosperity. In this direction, India has traditionally maintained close and friendly cooperation with regional organizations in Asia, including CICA.

7. We believe that CICA could be an important vehicle for advancing peace, progress and prosperity in Asia in consonance with the growing role of Asia in international relations. We welcome CICA’s recent decision to establish a new confidence building measure on epidemiology and healthcare and look forward to its implementation. As co-coordinators of CICA Confidence building measures on Transportation Corridors and Energy Security, we are interested in contributing to CICA’s efforts. Last week, India hosted a very well attended virtual workshop on "Renewable Energy and Energy Security” sharing experiences, ideas and opportunities in the field of solar energy, wind energy, bio-energy and hydrogen. India remains committed to strengthen the forces of cooperative multilateralism and support efforts in the CICA forum in that direction.

Thank you.

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