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Opening Remarks by External Affairs Minister at the 18th Meeting of RIC Foreign Ministers

November 26, 2021

Dear Colleagues,
Good afternoon !

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the 18th Meeting of the Russia-India-China Foreign Ministers. We are unable to meet in a physical format this time due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation.

We have agreed that the agenda for today’s meeting will include topical issues of : (i) Fight against Covid-19 pandemic, (ii) Reforms of the Multilateral System and (iii) International Hot-spot Issues. As is customary, with your approval, the opening remarks will be covered by the Media. I will now make my opening remarks on behalf of India and thereafter invite Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China followed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov of Russia to make their opening remarks.

At the outset, I would like to thank my colleagues from Russia and China for their support and cooperation during India’s chairmanship since September last year. I also take this opportunity to specially thank the Think-Tanks from Russia and China for actively participating in the RIC Academic Conference held in video-conference format under India’s chairmanship in April this year.

Let me, dear colleagues, reaffirm India’s continued commitment to foster closer dialogue and cooperation among the three largest nations in the Eurasian region under the RIC mechanism. I believe that our cooperation in areas like trade, investment, healthcare, education, science & technology and politics etc could significantly contribute to global growth, peace and stability. This would be in line with our common ethos of recognizing the "World as a Family”. Our approach to global development should be human-centric and not leave anyone behind.

The Covid pandemic has shown the interdependence of an inter-connected world. The need of the hour is, therefore, "One Earth One Health”. That means a timely, transparent, effective and non-discriminatory international response to global health challenges including pandemics, with equitable and affordable access to medicines and critical health supplies.

Since joining the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member in January this year, India has been actively contributing to finding mutually acceptable solutions to international and regional issues. We believe that a multi-polar and re-balanced world based on sovereign equality of nations and respect for international law and contemporary realities requires Reformed Multilateralism.

As a contiguous neighbor and long-standing partner of Afghanistan, India is concerned about the recent developments in that country, especially the suffering of the Afghan people. India supports an inclusive and representative government in Afghanistan as also other provisions of UN Security Council Resolution 2593. In line with our commitment to the well-being of Afghan people, we have offered supply of 50,000 MT of wheat to Afghanistan to address the drought situation. RIC countries need to work together to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Afghan people without hindrance and without politicization. It is necessary for the RIC countries to coordinate respective approaches on the threats of terrorism, radicalization, drug trafficking etc.

I look forward to our detailed discussions on the three items of our agenda. Now may I give the floor to the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China to deliver his opening remarks.

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