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Address by External Affairs Minister at the 9th ASEM Summit - Plenary Session II: Global Issues

November 06, 2012

ASEM Plenary Session II: Global Issues
[6 November 2012; Vientiane]

Mr. Chairman,
Excellencies,

At the outset, I would like to palce on record our deep appreciation to the Government of Lao PDR, and in particualr to Your Excellency the Prime Minister of Lao PDR for your warm welcome, excellent arrangements and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation.

I bring the best of wishes of my Prime Minister for the success of ASEM 9 under the Chairmanship of Lao PDR.

India is privileged to be part of ASEM. We join other members in welcoming Bangladesh, Norway and Switzerland to ASEM. We look forward to host the 11th meeting of the ASEM Foreign Ministers in New Delhi on November 14-15, 2013.

ASEM is an unique forum which given its inter-Continental nature endows it with great capacity to promote peace and development, particularly since it brings together a collective resource of around 60% of world's population, 50% of global GDP and almost 60% of world trade.

The ASEM Finance Ministers at a meeting in October this year underlined the need for Asia and Europe to promote closer engagement in addressing the current global crisis as well as in creating stronger, more sustainable and balanced global growth. There is evidence that recovery and growth in the Eurozone could benefit from the growth in emerging economies of Asia.

According to the Asian Development Bank, Asia will account for 52 percent of global GDP by 2050. A mutually beneficial partnership is called for between Asia and Europe through increased trade and investment linkages. While Europe would get access to the markets of Asia, the developing countries of Asia can benefit from European investments, technology transfer, knowledge and innovation. It would be a win-win situation for employment generation and sustainable growth in both the Continents.

Non-traditional security threats such as terrorism, piracy, illegal drug and arms trafficking, threat of terrorists gaining access to Weapons of Mass Destruction continue to pose serious challenges to peace and security globally. We firmly believe that different multi-lateral processes, including various regional forums dealing with these issues, should consolidate international efforts to address these threats.

The scourge of terrorism, unleashed by terror groups with global reach, needs a comprehensive global approach. The global legal regime against terrorism needs to be hinged on a single comprehensive legal framework. India had, therefore, tabled the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations in 1996. As the Chair of the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee since January 2011, India has worked to revitalize the activities of the CTC and to conclude negotiations on the CCIT. India is also engaged in international efforts to combat terrorism, including through the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy 2006, the International Convention for the Suppression of Financing of Terroism, and the Global Counter-terrorism Forum.

Maritime security is another important issue for the growing economies, particularly in Asia. We are concerned that despite international efforts, the threat of piracy continues to grow and has reached closer to our shores. In the face of growing threats of piracy and international terrorism, there is an urgency to increase functional cooperation and expand engagement among countries of the region.

India looks forward to a comprehensive and balanced outcome of the forthcoming COP-18 at Doha, Qatar in end November. A meaningful and effective 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol must be the single biggest measure of success at Doha.

Equally critical to the success of Doha is that we must have decisions on the outstanding issues of the Bali Action Plan and we must find a way to address issues that we are not able to conclude. Our continued efforts to address Climate Change must remain rooted in the basic principles of ‘equity’ and ‘common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) and respective capabilities’.

The issues of food and energy security will impact critically on the development stories of many nations, particularly in Asia. India supports a participatory model to look at cooperation on diversification of energy sources, stability of energy supplies, security of energy transportation and creation of new energy infrastructure and its protection.

India would recommend that energy cooperation between Europe and Asia include sharing of best energy practices and promoting greater dialogue between energy exporter and energy consumer countries. This dialogue should also facilitate the promotion of renewable energy, development of energy saving industries, energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.

We also need to explore newer models for financing of energy infrastructure. All these issues are a matter of priority for India, an energy deficit country where half the population does not have proper access to commercial energy. For us and for much of Asia, energy security is not merely "economic growth” but more an issue of basic needs of sustainance and poverty eradication. We look forward to working with ASEM members to meet these concerns and challenges.

Thank you.

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