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Remarks by Shri V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs at International Workshop on 'Quad in the Indo-Pacific'

April 29, 2021

Prof Manish Dabhade, Founder, The Indian Futures,
Ms. Bhavana Dabhade, President, The Indian Futures,
Parliamentary Colleagues,
Diplomats,
Distinguished Guests,
Namaskaram & a very Good Morning to you all!


I am delighted to inaugurate the International Workshop on 'Quad in the Indo-Pacific' organised by the Indian Futures.

2. The two-day International workshop comprising four sessions will witness several distinguished speakers, Indian Parliamentarians, foreign diplomats giving keynote addresses and deliberating on this important topic.

3. I am aware that the Think Tank, Indian Futures has organised several successful academic programs in association with top institutions in India. My best wishes to India Futures for the success of this International workshop.

Friends,

4. The concept of Indo-Pacific has gained salience in recent years. The Indo-Pacific region is a broad sweep, from the Pacific Islands to the archipelagos of the western Indian Ocean and off the eastern coast of Africa. Significant flows of trade, sea lanes of communication, maritime security, piracy and other factors make the Indo-Pacific region very important from commercial and strategic perspectives. It is also home to our neighbours and key partners with whom we share historical, cultural, commercial and people-to-people linkages. This inspires us to work together with like-minded partners, friends, closer than ever before, in the endeavor for peace and stability, prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

5. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our everyday life and of the economy as whole. It has resulted in enormous sufferings across the world. India stands firmly as we combat the enormous challenges brought by the pandemic. As we stand united in efforts towards recovery, resilience and rebuilding, we are guided by the ancient Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – of the world being one family. This is also our ethos and guiding principle towards the Indo-Pacific region.

6. In 2019, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji announced the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) as the implementing framework for our vision of the Indo-Pacific with seven areas of cooperation, i.e.
Maritime Security;
Maritime Ecology;
Maritime Resources;
Capacity Building & Resource Sharing;
Disaster Risk Reduction & Management;
Science, Technology & Academic Cooperation; and Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport.

7. Naturally, ASEAN is at the centre of India’s Vision of Indo-Pacific with firm support for ASEAN-Centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms particularly the leaders-led East Asia Summit.

Friends,

8. It is also heartening to see how the concept of Indo-Pacific is being embraced in Europe as well, with many countries enunciating their strategies and outlook for the region.

9. India has created partnerships and mechanisms with countries, the opportunities, concerns and stakes of which intersect with ours. Some of these, such as the SCO, BRICS and RIC have regular Ministerial-level engagement. In each of these mechanisms, we engage with our partners on common areas of interest and convergences, to advance our common goals.

10. Quad is one such mechanism. As political democracies, market economies and pluralistic societies, the Quad partners are committed to upholding a rules-based international order, underpinned by the rule of law, transparency, freedom and navigation in the international seas, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty and peaceful resolution of disputes. Our shared commitment is for maintaining a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. Our consultations with any group of partners is not directed against any other country/group.

11. Quad has met thrice so far at the Ministerial level and seven times at the senior official level. We discuss practical cooperation in the areas of maritime security, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR), supply chain resilience and counter-terrorism in the Indo-Pacific region. In recent months Quad discussions have also focused on our efforts to address the many challenges posed by COVID pandemic.

12. The historic and first Leader’s level Summit was held virtually on 12 March 2021, with Prime minister Narendra Modi ji joining Prime Ministers Scott Morrison of Australia and Yoshihide Suga of Japan, at the invitation of President Joe Biden of the United States. That the four countries upgraded the Quad conversation to the apex level was by itself the most significant outcome.

13. At the meeting, the four countries emphasized their commitment to the principles that unite us and underpin all our national experiences – our shared belief in democracy, pluralism and market-based economic principles and our shared commitment to a free and open, inclusive and rules-based, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

14. Quad Leaders adopted a positive agenda and vision, focusing on contemporary issues such as vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies. Responding to contemporary challenges, they reviewed economic and health impacts of COVID-19 and shared challenges, including in cyber space, critical technologies, counter-terrorism, quality infrastructure investment, and humanitarian-assistance and disaster-relief as well as maritime domains.

Friends,

15. The Covid-19 pandemic reminded all of us about the need for trusted and resilient supply chains for healthcare and pharma, traditional manufacturing, critical infrastructure, and emerging technologies. India rose to the challenge of leveraging our strong pharma sector to become a reliable global supplier of essential vaccines.

16. The Quad vaccine collaboration initiative, in particular, is a path breaking effort, envisioning manufacture of US vaccines in India – and delivery to countries in the Indo-Pacific region with support of Japan and Australia. It is an example of collective efforts which can be leveraged for global good, in these challenging times. India welcomes this initiative and looks forward to wholeheartedly and unstintingly participating in it. This is a vaccine supply chain being built by trust and being built to convey trust. It is an example of the human-centric international cooperation and globalisation that Prime Minister Modi ji has referred to on more than one occasion. It is also a validation of India’s reputation as a reliable manufacturer of high-quality vaccines and pharmaceutical products.

17. Quad also focuses on climate change – and work together to strengthen climate actions globally on mitigation, adaptation, resilience, technology, capacity-building, and climate finance.

18. In India, despite our growth and development priorities we have taken ambitious action on expanding renewable power and green cover. I am happy to share that India, at present, is the only country on track among the G20 nations to meet the climate change mitigation commitments. We are not only meeting our targets under the Paris Agreement but are exceeding them.

19. Frontier technologies and their safe and judicious use for the security and prosperity of all and advancing the effort against climate change in every possible manner are also articles of faith for India. We welcome the opportunity to cooperate even more closely with our Quad partners including on international standards and innovative technologies of the future.

20. We look forward to working with our Quad partners for the success of these initiatives, which demonstrate the Quad’s constructive agenda and collective efforts towards the well-being of the Indo-Pacific region.

21. With this, I would like to conclude and extend my good wishes to The Indian Futures for the successful conduct of this International Workshop. I am confident that the deliberations will be interesting and informative.

Thank you!

New Delhi
April 29, 2021
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