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Speech by Shri V. Muraleedharan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs at CICA Informal Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs 74th UNGA

September 23, 2019

I congratulate Tajikistan forhosting this informal Ministerial meeting of CICA. I commend Kazakhstan for its decision to assume the chairmanship after Tajikistan. India supports CICA’s initiatives on peace, security, and prosperityin Asia and has demonstrated its commitment by actively participating in CICA events as well as organising related activities. We have proposed to organise Meetings of Special Working Group (SWG) and Senior Officials Committee as well as an Energy Efficiency Workshop in 2020 in India. We have also been deputing a representative on secondment to CICA Secretariat since almost a decade.

India’s External Affairs Minister had shared India’s vision for a secure and prosperous Asia as well as some of our security concerns at the last CICA Summit in Dushanbe in June 2019. India appreciates the initiativestaken by CICA for promoting peace and development in Asiathrough confidence building measures. India supports a rule-based order in Asia, as in the rest of the world. We confront several challenges to peace and security in Asia, such as terrorism, conflicts, trans-national crimes and maritime threats. There are also challenges to our goal of sustainable development, including lack of energy security, low intra-regional trade and deficits in regional connectivity. CICA has a role to play in shaping our response to these challenges.

The situation in Afghanistan is a matter of concern. Restoration of normalcy in Afghanistan through a legitimate democratic process is essential for long-term stability of Afghanistan and the region. India has stood resolutely behind the Government and people of Afghanistan and has supported development of Afghanistan despite many impediments. India has consistently supportedan Afghan led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled peace process.

There is also a growing concern over the situation in the Gulf region, where competing geo-strategic interests can lead to an avoidable conflict, which will have disastrous impact on the security and development of the countries in the region and beyond. As a responsible nation of the region, India has deployed its naval ships in the Gulf, alongside other nations, to ensure that there is no interruption in trade and movement of ships. We are hopeful that we will be able to prevent any escalation in the situation into a conflict through dialogue and diplomacy.

Terrorism is a scourge that afflicts member countries of CICA and others. It has beensustained through financial, political and moral support of some States. Organisations such asFinancial Action Task Force (FATF)areengaged in maintaining integrity of the international financial system in Asia forcombating terror financing. Members of CICA must continue to support the FATF in its endeavours. We also seek your support onan early conclusion of theComprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, as proposed by India.

India supports inclusive and consensus-based multilateral cooperation. India’s policies of Think West, Act East, Security and Growth for All, and its vision of Indo-Pacific are a reflection of our commitment to partner with countries of Asia in our collective endeavour to make the 21st century a century of Asia. India values its membership of CICA and wishes to see it evolve as a vital forum for shaping a secure and developed Asia.

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