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FS’s Keynote address to the 1st Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship

January 14, 2019

"New dimensions in India’s Foreign Policy”

Her Excellency Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, UN Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Ms. Renata Dwan, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Affairs, my colleagues, Amb. J.S. Mukul, Dean, Foreign Service Institute, and Mr. Indra Mani Pandey, Additional Secretary (Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division), and Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you all to the First Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship. This programme is a reflection of India's commitment to upholding multilateralism and the institutions it engenders. I cannot underscore this enough as we all know, the world is going through a particularly disruptive phase. But there are also unprecedented new opportunities for global growth and prosperity. Technology-driven transformation has further quickened that pace of change. Many of these changes are marked by rebalancing of the global economy, and consequently, of international politics – this is especially true of the Asia pacific or Indo-pacific region, where India is located.

The only way for us to take advantage of these opportunities so as to ensure sustainable peace and security, is to navigate these disruptions and underlying fault lines through a pragmatic and constructive approach, and most importantly, one that strengthens existing mechanisms of cooperation and helps to foster new and forward-looking partnerships.

The challenges we all face today, and all of us know this, whether they be the traditional security issues such as nuclear proliferation, armed conflict and so on or newer non-traditional issues such as terrorism, migration and refugee flows and environmental degradation – all of these, in our view, require more, and not less, multilateralism.

The paradox is that globalization seems to be leading to less, not more multilateralism. Or to put it another way, unilateral tendencies are coming to the fore, be they in rising trade protectionism or in the disregard for established international mechanisms governing the global commons such as in maritime domain.

From the very beginning, India has presented the world with a philosophy for uniting mankind and erasing artificial barriers and in our ancient philosophy, the concept of "vasudhaiva kutumbakam" - the whole world is one family is at the core of our civilization. Today, this concept is at the core of India’s vision for the world.

We are registering robust economic growth – with a GDP growth that is among the highest in the world, a young and dynamic population, and a proactive and constructive approach to emerging global challenges. But at the heart of our global engagement is to make our diplomacy an enabler of the security, development and prosperity for the people of India. And we are doing so by seeking out new opportunities and partnerships, by enabling an environment that will attract not only capital and ideas and advanced technologies to India.

We are proactively contributing the promotion of global peace and security - whether it is by founding the International Solar Alliance, earlier this year, which will contribute to enhancing the world’s energy security and to combating climate change; or through our active role as first responders in humanitarian and disaster relief operations in our neighbourhood; and, of course through our membership of key institutions of global governance.

Our Prime Minister’s eloquent articulation of India's Indo-Pacific approach at last year's Shangri La Dialogue in Singapore applies equally to our global vision - it is positive and inclusive, and is marked by respect); dialogue cooperation, peace), and prosperity.

There has been a significant revitalization of India’s engagement with its immediate neighbourhood – both bilaterally and within the framework of regional groupings. And this includes a well thought-out approach towards the Indian Ocean region, including maritime security, Humanitarian Assiatance and Disaster Relief, Blue Economy, as well as the leveraging of the economic and cultural complementarities between the littoral states.

We are paying special attention to infrastructure and connectivity projects.

There is greater energy, pragmatism and strategic content in India’s relations with South East Asian regions, known as ASEAN, in the context of the wider Indo-Pacific. We are leveraging the full potential of this policy to accelerate the development of India’s Northeastern States and to enhance regional connectivity between them and South East Asia. Last month, to our west, the India Ports Global Limited Company assumed responsibilities for operations of Iran’s Chabahar port, which will provide India with sea-land connectivity to Afghanistan and to Central Asia.

We are simultaneously deepening our ties with all the major countries of the world. Our focus is on areas of greatest promise in each of these relationships and we engage all our partners in an open, transparent and mutually reinforcing manner. We share concerns over growing insular and protectionist trends, and support the promotion of genuine multilateralism.

As we emerge as a major driver of global economic growth, our support for equitable growth and prosperity of fellow developing countries remains undiminished. We are taking the lead in extending financial and technical partnershipto developing countries, particularly in Asia and Africa, through bilateral, sub-regional, regional and multilateral development cooperation programmes. And in all these engagements, we prioritise transparency, financial responsibility and promote local ownership.

With regard to Africa in particular, last year, our Prime Minister during an official viist to Uganda, in the Ugandan parliament, set forth Ten Guiding Principles for our engagement with Africa. Essentially, Africa remains a top priority of India’s foreign policy. We will intensify and deepen our engagement with them on a sustained basis and this will be anchored on the priorities of African countries and on their terms.

India’s vision of engagement in the Indo-Pacific region will be based on the values of peace, stability and prosperity on a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific with ASEAN central to the concept which serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. Our Prime Minister’s articulation of the vision of SAGAR – "Security and Growth for All in the Region” will continue to provide the basis for our maritime engagement.

I know that over the coming days you will have a more detailed insight on issues pertaining to disarmament and international security issues.

It is important to know that India was among the earliest advocates for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons. We continue to attach the highest priority to the goal of universal nuclear disarmament., In fact, pending the elimination of nuclear weapons, we have put forward several proposals in a Working Paper on Nuclear Disarmament in 2006.

As a responsible nuclear power, our nuclear doctrine is based on a policy of minimum credible deterrence with a posture of no-first-use and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon States. At the same time, we have called on all possessor states to engage in a meaningful dialogue to build trust and to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons.

In this context we have a robust civil nuclear program with a range of societal applications, ranging from nuclear power generation to food security, health-care medicine and the use of radio-pharmaceuticals for diagnosis and therapy. Nuclear radiation has been used to develop pest resistance lentils and the Bhabhatron, an indigenously developed cancer therapy machine, is now in operation in several countries.

In the area of nuclear power generation, India currently operates 22 nuclear power reactors with total installed capacity of 6.7 GW. And we are planning for additional 6.7 GW through 9 new nuclear power reactors, which will take us past 20 GW by 2025-30; thus bringing us at the forefront of major nuclear power producers in the world.

We also share our knowledge in civilian application of nuclear technologies with all countries. India’s Department of Atomic Energy has been conducting courses at the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP). The Global Centre has been conducting international training programmes. In the preceding year alone, it has organised programmes on a variety of subjects including in the areas of nuclear safety, security and safeguards; physical protection of nuclear facilities, and emergency response to radioactive disperse devices.

We see space technologies as furthering our country’s developmental goals and India has today established itself as major space faring nation with a consistent and successful record of space launches and operational capability. The South Asian Satellite, that we launched last year, stands as testimony of our readiness to share our achievements with countries in our neighborhood.

It is this range of technological capabilities, and our impeccable record of non-proliferation of advanced WMD technologies, that has been acknowledged through India’s membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.

Over the next fortnight, you will have the opportunity to discuss and learn about an impressive range of issues that have a direct bearing on global peace and security and a chance to hear from leading Indian practitioners and thinkers about our approach to these issues, including diplomats, scientists, and others. We hope that this will provide a platform for exchange of perspectives from other parts of the world for those who speak to you. This is precisely the kind of cross-cutting dialogue I believe will strengthen the global institutional response to the emerging security challenges and will strengthen multilateralism in the world of today.

New Delhi
January 14, 2018

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