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Statement by His Excellency Shri Murli Deora, Special Envoy of Prime Minister of India, at Second Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA)

June 17, 2006

Your Excellency President Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my privilege to be present at such a distinguished gathering for the Second Summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia. I bring you the warm greetings of my Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his best wishes for the success of this Summit. India attaches high importance to CICA. Prime Minister would have liked to be present today but has regretted that due to other urgent engagements he could not come.

We warmly welcome the two new members to the CICA family, Thailand and Republic of Korea, who have joined us since the last CICA Summit. India has traditionally warm and friendly relations with both of them.

Mr. President, I cannot but recall your address to the 47th Session UNGA in 1992, where you proposed the idea of CICA process and said "A journey of a thousand steps starts with the first step. It is by no means necessary to move towards a unified Asian structure and collective security in all these types of interaction at once”. Today, as we gather for the second summit, we can proudly say that we have accomplished the initial steps. We have agreed to travel side by side, at a pace agreeable to all in our journey to promote peace and prosperity in Asia. India has had the privilege to be associated with CICA since its very inception and has extended its whole hearted support.

When one is in the land of Abai, the great Kazakh nationalist, philosopher and poet, it is natural to recollect one of his couplets which goes:

Rises the Sun and sets the Sun
time is always on the run
concept comes after concept
like the wind caught by none!

It is only through farsighted wisdom that a concept can be nurtured and developed into a tangible form. I congratulate you, Mr. President, therefore for your vision and statesmanship in launching and steering the CICA process. Let me also take this opportunity to thank you for the very generous and warm hospitality accorded to me and the members of my delegation by the friendly people of Kazakhstan.

India has always believed that CICA can help contribute to the development of a cooperative and pluralistic security order in Asia, based on mutual understanding, trust and sovereign equality. Since achieving independence in 1947, India has been at the forefront of initiatives to foster greater cooperation between the countries of Asia. The 1954 Panchsheel Principles and the 1955 Bandung Conference were important milestones in this process. We note that the Panchsheel Principles are identical to the CICA Declaration of Principles adopted by us in 1999. Asia presents a diverse picture which requires a unique Asian framework. Replication of models, perhaps successful elsewhere, may not necessarily be suitable for us. India has therefore always emphasized that CICA has to evolve its own approach, rooted in the realities of Asia. In CICA, we have recognized this diversity and the consequent need therefore to move ahead gradually, building upon the basis of consensus and voluntary participation. We have pledged to work together to build a cooperative architecture by enlarging the areas of common advantage and convergence. We believe that CICA should above all focus on and take collective steps to further economic cooperation and greater social and cultural interaction among the member states.

Mr. President, together we have a significant share of natural resources, global energy reserves and trade, but we also have to face the fact that a large number of our people are still afflicted by poverty and lack of development. Closer bilateral and regional economic cooperation among the CICA members can act as a powerful catalyst for both development and prosperity of our peoples as well as for resolution of difficult problems left over from history.

Mr. President, the process of globalization has led to emergence of new security threats and challenges. These include international terrorism and transnational crimes, including trafficking in drugs, arms smuggling, cyber crimes, international economic crimes and money laundering. At the Almaty Summit in 2002, we had adopted the Declaration on Eliminating Terrorism and Promoting Dialogue among Civilizations. We had collectively decided then that the fight against terrorism had to be global comprehensive and sustained and not selective or discriminatory. Today, we see a re-emergence of forces, which spawned the culture of terrorism in our region. It is necessary for us to redouble our efforts to root out this menace to our common peace and security with single-minded focus. No cause, however noble, can justify killing of innocent men, women and children through acts of terrorism. We should commit ourselves to zero tolerance for terrorism.

The CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures, which we adopted two years ago, elaborates a broad framework of confidence building measures in the economic, social and humanitarian dimensions as well for fighting against the new challenges such as terrorism and transnational crimes. Let us today set ourselves the task that we would try and encourage elaboration and implementation of these CBMs on the basis of principles enshrined in the Catalogue. Based on the collective experience gained in this endeavour, we could consider further steps for the evolution of CICA. Such an approach would be consistent with your very wise words Mr. President at the 1992 UN General Assembly, which gave birth to the CICA process.

I would conclude by assuring you of India's constant support and cooperation as we all move together towards our common destination of peace and prosperity for our peoples.


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