The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that building the future together is the need of the hour and promoting Inclusive growth and Sustainable Connectivity should be the priority. He was intervening in the first Plenary Session of 12th ASEM Summit, in Brussels, Belgium today.
Following is the text of Vice President’s address:
“Your Excellency Donald Tusk, President of the European Council
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, brothers and sisters
The theme of ASEM 12 Summit “Global Partners for Global Challenges” is particularly relevant in the current global context. I express my gratitude to Belgium, our gracious hosts, for the excellent arrangements made for the Summit.
Excellencies, we are today confronted by global challenges that need a global response. The significant threats to world peace and security, to financial integrity and environmental protection need concerted action.
Excellencies, a major threat to global peace and security is Terrorism, along with radicalization and extremism. India, as an affected party, urges the international community to work towards early adoption of the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism which will, inter alia, deny terrorists and their supporters’ access to arms, funds and safe havens.
Excellencies, my country considers economic offences, tax crimes and criminal misappropriation of public assets as a significant threat to the integrity of financial systems. We need to considerably strengthen international cooperation within G20 and other fora, to deny shelter to economic offenders. There is also an urgent need for enhancing mechanisms for Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with committed timelines. ASEM can and should play an important role in this regard.
Excellencies, Climate change is an existential reality for all countries and for our future generations. Elimination of poverty through sustainable use of resources and improvement in livelihoods will be the biggest driver to prevent climate change. Developing countries would need enhanced financial and technological support. In this context, fulfillment of obligations by developed countries would be important.
Excellencies, I am glad that the world community is coming together to address these formidable challenges. For example, the ‘International Solar Alliance’, launched by India and France in 2015, is an excellent example of Asia and Europe cooperation. For his leadership effort, Prime Minister Modi, along with President Emmanuel Macron, has been recently awarded the United Nations Champion of the Earth award. We invite ASEM partners to join this initiative on renewable energy.
Excellencies, India is of the firm belief that connectivity is the pathway to shared prosperity. India is currently involved in a number of international connectivity projects, such as the International North-South Corridor and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. Connectivity initiatives must meet universally recognized international norms such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and should be transparent, fiscally and environmentally sustainable.
Connecting nations, connecting the hearts and connecting minds and connecting economic development with environmental protection is at the heart of our shared commitment.
I am proud to share that every 2030 Sustainable Development Goals has been mapped to India’s developmental programmes and schemes. As Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has repeatedly emphasized, India’s development architecture is under pinned by ‘Collective Efforts for Inclusive Development’. Women’s empowerment is now a key development imperative.
India values its participation in ASEM which acts as a bridge between the two continents and brings together countries with deep commitment to the rules based international system in particular strengthening WTO.
Culture is the bridge that connects people. India would be showcasing its rich cultural heritage through the unique fusion of Indian classical dance Kathakali narrating the story of Spanish “Don Quixote” as a part of the ASEM culture festival.
Excellencies, the formidable global challenges of our times need clear vision, innovative direction and sincere commitment to action.
Let me conclude with a line from Rigveda an Indian scripture that could provide inspiration for all of us–
“May our purpose be the same May we all come to a common understanding May our aspirations and intentions be similar May a common set of objectives unite us all”
Peace is a prerequisite for progress. If there is tension at the border, there will be no attention in the nation. Let’s work together to eliminate terror from the globe. Namaskar