East Asia Summit East Asia Summit

Remarks by Minister of State for External Affairs at the 5th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, Kuala Lumpur

August 06, 2015

  • At the outset, on behalf of the Indian delegation and on my own personal behalf, I convey my sincere thanks to Dato Sri Anifah Haji Aman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to us and the excellent arrangements made for our stay as well as our meeting today.
  • Over the past decade, the East Asia Summit process has gained in stature as the pre-eminent regional forum for dialogue on strategic, political-security and economic issues facing the East Asian region in particular and the world in general.
  • This unique Leaders-led nature of the EAS, the Bali Principles of Mutually Beneficial Relations and the Phnom Penh Declaration on the EAS Development Initiative, the principle of ASEAN centrality, with progress at a pace comfortable to all, the principles of dialogue and consensus, together provide a very powerful construct for engagement and cooperation in East Asia.
  • Having said that, the 10th anniversary year of the EAS is the ideal occasion for all of us to review the EAS process and deliberate on the way forward. We compliment Malaysia for their well-crafted draft for the Kuala Lumpur Declaration on the Tenth Anniversary of the East Asia Summit. We are broadly supportive of the various proposals in the draft.
  • We believe that the EAS has come a long way since it was conceived, and as a founding member it gives us satisfaction to see the role played by the EAS and importantly the platform that it provides to the leaders of the region to discuss the important issues that concern us all.
  • We must acknowledge that regional peace, security and stability are prerequisites for pursuing economic growth and development. So while continuing our functional cooperation in the six priority areas as laid down in the Plan of Action to implement the Phnom Penh Declaration on EAS Development Initiative, we cannot shy away from addressing emergent security concerns at the EAS.
  • I would like to reiterate India’s support to ASEAN centrality and leadership role within the EAS. Furthermore, we support the setting up of a dedicated EAS Unit within ASEAN Secretariat and utilizing the services of the EAS Ambassadors in Jakarta optimally to ensure effective and timely follow-up of the Leaders’ decisions.
  • We are happy with the successful conclusion of the 4th EAS Workshop on Regional Security Architecture co-hosted by Cambodia and India in Phnom Penh on 20-21 July 2015. The event was a significant confidence building measure. An EAS-centred regional security architecture would accommodate the diverse needs of the region.
  • I am happy to inform that Mr. George Yeo, former Foreign Minister of Singapore, has recently been appointed as the Chancellor of Nalanda University. We highly value the vision, wisdom and experience he brings to the university. A third School for Buddhist Studies and Comparative Religion will open at Nalanda from the academic year 2016-17, in addition to the existing Schools of Historical Studies and Ecology and Environment.
  • We have listened carefully to the proposal of the Russian Federation on working towards mutual recognition of educational degrees in the context of EAS and fully endorse it. We will look carefully at the suggestion of making Nalanda University the hub for setting up a network of EAS universities.
  • We invite EAS participating countries to make active use of the Virtual Knowledge Portallaunched in New Delhi in December 2014 for promoting multilateral cooperation in the event of disasters.
  • We hope to see optimal participation by representatives of leading medical institutions from your respective countries at the EAS Workshop on Diabetes as a Lifestyle Disease that we are hosting in New Delhi, and also at the EAS Roundtable on Trauma Care and Nursing that we plan to organize in October 2015.
  • India supports Thailand’s proposal for a co-shepherds mechanism to address issues of funding and co-ownership of functional collaboration projects in the six priority areas.
  • The modalities for the Trade-in-Services and Investment Agreements under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership have been finalised at the Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur in July. We are optimistic about the conclusion of substantive negotiations by the end of the year.

  • The issue of maritime safety and security has been demanding our increasing attention.The oceans in the Asia-Pacific region are a critical enabler of our prosperity and of our growing interdependence. Maritime security remains under threat from non-state actors such as terrorists, pirates and people smugglers. Incidents of piracy have gone up in recent months and we can see that developments in coastal and island states can have an impact on security on the seas. In addition, sovereignty disputes have the potential for undermining maritime security and mutual confidence.
  • In a world of inter-dependence and globalisation, there is no option but to follow international laws and norms. India supports freedom of navigation in international waters, including the South China Sea, the right of passage and overflight, unimpeded commerce and access to resources in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Territorial disputes must be settled through peaceful means, as was done by India and Bangladesh recently using the mechanisms provided under UNCLOS.
  • India hopes that all parties to the disputes in the South China Sea will abide by the guidelines on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. We further support efforts for the early adoption of a Code of Conduct on the South China Sea on the basis of consensus.
  • All of us are justifiably concerned about the surging threat of terrorism, radicalism and extremism across the world. We have to find solutions through a sustained political approach to pre-empt and prevent radicalisation, recruitment, travel, training and financing aspects of terrorism. We appreciate Malaysia’s Global Movement of Moderates initiative and the emphasis on de-radicalisation by Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and other countries. We also need to develop acceptable norms of state behaviour in cyber space and address questions related to internet governance.
  • India has welcomed the North-South Joint Declaration of 15 June 2000 between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea. India supports the Six Party Talks and hopes for an early resumption of these talks.
  • India also welcomes the successful conclusion of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue.
  • Today is Hiroshima day. This is an occasion to reiterate our commitment to eliminate all weapons of mass destruction.
Thank you for your attention.

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