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Opening Remarks by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh at the Third IBSA Summit

October 15, 2008

Your Excellency President Lula of Brazil
Your Excellency President Motlanthe of South Africa
Distinguished delegates and participants in the IBSA Forums

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to welcome Presidents Lula and Motlanthe and their delegations to India for this Third Summit meeting of the IBSA Dialogue Forum.

We are honoured that President Motlanthe’s first visit overseas after assuming office is to India for the IBSA Summit. I would like to take this opportunity to place on record, on behalf of all of us, our deep appreciation for the contribution made by President Thabo Mbeki in supporting and taking IBSA forward.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

IBSA is a unique forum. It brings together three democracies, with dynamic developing economies located in three different continents.

Our countries are bound together by shared values and commitment to pluralism, human rights and the rule of law.

The IBSA Forum provides a platform for us to learn from each other’s experiences and to synergise our complementarities in a mutually beneficial manner. Our three countries also have a key role to play in ensuring equitable global growth and in contributing to international stability.

As a result of our first Summit in Brazil and second Summit in South Africa, we have intensified our trilateral cooperation. We are grateful to Brazil and South Africa for their untiring efforts towards this end. Today, IBSA has emerged as a role model for effective South-South cooperation. I compliment our Foreign Ministers and officials who have guided the process and kept faith in the idea of IBSA.

This is our third Summit. It marks the end of the first cycle of our Summit meetings. This is an ideal opportunity to take stock of how far we have travelled, where we stand and what the road ahead should be.

I am pleased that the Working Groups are now making efforts to identify concrete projects and activities for trilateral cooperation. Our focus must constantly remain on implementation so that the benefits of our cooperation can be brought to the doorsteps of our people.

The Dialogues held during the last two days by the Business, Academic, Editors and Women's Forums have been enriching and have contributed to making IBSA a truly people’s movement. We look forward to receiving the reports of the Forums' deliberations.

A good beginning has been made in evolving a Social Development Strategy for IBSA. India has also circulated a Concept Paper on the future of agricultural cooperation within IBSA.

Improving connectivity among ourselves remains a challenge and must remain a strategic objective.

IBSA has an important role to play internationally. We are meeting against the backdrop of the international financial crisis.

Our voice on how to manage this crisis in a way that does not jeopardize our development priorities needs to be heard in international councils.

We need more than ever before a renewed effort to reform the institutions of international governance, whether it is the United Nations or the G-8. We need to work purposefully towards the conclusion of the Doha Round of trade talks in a manner that promotes development and inclusive growth. The increase in energy and food prices and the challenge of terrorism threaten our developmental efforts.

IBSA is uniquely placed to cooperate in these important areas. I am confident that our Summit today will lead to productive outcomes on all these important issues.

India is committed to ensuring that IBSA realises its great potential.

Thank you.

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