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External Affairs Minister Shri Pranab Mukherjee’s remarks at the Inaugural Session of 2nd IBSA Editors’ Forum

October 13, 2008

Secretary Shri Nalin Surie
President of the Centre for Policy Research, Dr. Bhanu Pratap Mehta,
Distinguished Editors from Brazil, South Africa and India
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to formally inaugurate the 2nd IBSA Editors Forum this morning in New Delhi, on the eve of the 3rd IBSA Summit.

I warmly welcome the distinguished opinion makers from Brazil, South Africa and India. As fellow democracies, we all understand and commend, the critical role being played by the media in shaping public opinion. That is precisely why this forum is so important. While IBSA since its inception in 2003, has already gained a lot of traction, yet the potential is still to attained and the marked information gap is still to be bridged, which can only be done with the media leading from the front.

I would at the outset like to commend the Centre for Policy Research, under Dr. Mehta’s stewardship for crafting such an imaginative and pertinent agenda for the 2-day forum. We IBSA nations, collectively and individually, are grappling with issues like capacity building; New Architecture of Global Governance including UN reforms; Breaking Global Deadlocks on Trade, Climate Change and Energy matters; managing the unfolding global economic crisis – to name just a few.

I am pleased to note that IBSA nations have a similarity of approach on many global issues, including UNSC reforms, the future of multilateralism, South-South Cooperation and multilateral trade negotiations. This has led to fruitful cooperation at various forums such as the UN, IAEA, WTO, G-77, G-20 and G-8 plus 5 outreach nations. India greatly appreciates the strong proactive support of Brazil and South Africa to the proposal to enable full civil nuclear cooperation with India at the IAEA and the NSG meetings, which enabled India to get the historic waiver from the NSG.

IBSA countries have taken rapid strides in building on synergies and forging trilateral linkages, in a number of key areas including health, agriculture, education, transport, energy, science & technology and IT. To cite just one example Brazil agreed to share with India and South Africa, on a preferential basis, its technologies and expertise in ethanol and other bio-fuels. India offered to share expertise in wind resource. South Africa too has world-class technologies in the synthetic fuels industry from which the other two countries can benefit. Our cooperation is a Win Win proposition benefiting our nations, as well as, fellow developing countries.

Economic and commercial relations among IBSA nations are flourishing. We have established a target of US $15 billion in intra-IBSA trade by 2010. Investments in all three directions are on the upswing. IBSA is now recognized as a grouping with enormous potential for political, economic and people-to-people cooperation. Not only our people but also the international community looks at IBSA with admiration, which has demonstrated that geographical distance is no hindrance in forging cooperative ties when there is a will, similarity of outlook and commonality of aspirations.

Brazil, South Africa and India have together charted out an ambitious road map for the future and are taking purposeful strides towards attaining the targets, as well as, establishing new benchmarks. I am certain that this forum will yield fruitful ideas. Your recommendations will provide valuable inputs for the deliberations of the IBSA summit, which will be held on the 15th. I wish all success to the 2nd Editors Forum and hope you have a pleasant experience in India.

Thank you.

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