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Statement by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during Annual Meeting of BRICS Foreign Ministers, September 21, 2017

Excellency Ms. Maite Mashabane Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa

Excellency Mr. Aloysio Nunes , Foreign Minister of Brazil
Excellency Mr. Sergey Lavrov Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Excellency Mr. Wang Yi Minister of Foreign Affairs of China

At the outset, I would like to extend my warm appreciation to Foreign Minister Mashabane for organizing today’s meeting.

Excellencies,

We meet today after the successful hosting of the Xiamen BRICS Summit. Our Leaders had a fruitful interaction at the Summit that is reflected in the Summit Declaration.

BRICS engagement has expanded substantially in the fields of economy and commerce. We have also exchanged views on situations of global and political significance.

Challenges before the global economy continue to persist. Slowdown in the world economy accompanied with increasing tide of protectionism and policy uncertainties will require measures of matching proportions.

BRICS should also take lead in WTO and G20 in a coordinated manner. A fair, open, and transparent trading system with WTO at its centre is in our collective interest. We should step up BRICS coordination ahead of WTO Ministerial Conference in Argentina in December this year.

United Nations is the most important, universal and representative international organization. It is seen as the core of the global governance system and multiculturalism. It is vital in maintaining international peace and security, advancing global development, and promoting & protecting human rights.

But the effectiveness of the UN depends on its credibility. Most nations no longer feel it reflects the contemporary realities.

Reforming the global governance architecture has been discussed in BRICS for long. It has been our shared view that this process has moved too slowly. We must step up our combined efforts for reforms in IMF and of the UN Security Council.

Prime Minister Modi stressed at Xiamen BRICS Summit that the missed opportunity of UN reforms at its 70th Anniversary should be addressed by its 75th Anniversary.

Excellencies,

The global outlook of peace and security is complex today. It calls upon us to ensure greater leadership for a rule-based international order.

Challenges for inclusive development and promoting peace and security reflect new realities of changing world.

The situation in West Asia remains precarious. The crisis in Gulf has further added to uncertainty. The spiral of violence in Afghanistan manifests the complexity of the challenge we are faced with. The action and rhetoric of North Korea has been a source of growing global concern.

The horror of terrorism continues to haunt global peace and security. Terror groups continue to draw sustenance from support systems, including those based in South Asia. They continue to find support and shelter in countries which use terrorism as an instrument of State Policy.

Countering terrorism must not be a matter of political convenience. 

Excellencies,

We must condemn efforts, including by States, to use religion to justify, sustain and sponsor terrorism against other countries. There is need for collective efforts to disrupt terrorist networks, their financing and movement. PM Modi has given a call for a BRICS Counter-Terrorism Strategy for Joint Action at the Xiamen BRICS Summit.

We must together work for early conclusion of negotiations and adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the United Nations.

There is also a clear need to build norms, create structures and pool our capacities to stop tax evasion, and fight against black money and corruption.

Terrorist funding, their weapons supply, training and political support must be systematically cut off.

Excellencies,

India attaches utmost importance to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development since the Agenda articulates international development priorities and global development cooperation for the next 15 years.

The overarching objective of poverty eradication in the new Agenda is something we consider extremely important.

In 2030 Agenda, the world community has undertaken significant commitments towards sustainability, development, and prosperity that is shared and equitable. Subsequently, the world leaders adopted the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development.

It is our belief that commitments enshrined in these documents should be honoured fully. The means and mechanisms are of critical importance in the implementation of SDGs.

BRICS must stress for early implementation of the Global commitments towards Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the Financing for Development.

Excellencies,

There is need to accelerate BRICS cooperation on Smart Cities, Urbanization, and Disaster Management. BRICS countries also need to increase cooperation in Disaster-Resilient Urban Infrastructure.

BRICS Leaders in this regard welcomed the decision to establish a BRICS Joint Taskforce on Disaster Risk Management that was taken at the meeting of the BRICS Ministers for Disaster Management in Udaipur. New Development Bank and Contingency Reserve Arrangement have been our major milestones. We need to build further on their success.

PM Modi has suggested an alliance between International Solar Alliance and New Development Bank. Establishment of a BRICS Rating Entity made much progress during India’s Chairmanship.

Excellencies,

PM Modi has emphasized that people should always be placed at the heart of BRICS process.

BRICS Young Scientists’ Forum, Young Diplomats’ Forum, BRICS games, BRICS Film Festival, a Tourism Convention, Digital Conclave, BRICS Wellness Forum, Friendship Cities Conclave, BRICS Urbanization Forum, BRICS Trade Fair have made meaningful contribution in this regard. 

We are more than hopeful that this process will gain further strength under South Africa’s BRICS Chairmanship.

Excellencies,

The BRICS Women Parliamentarians had a remarkable meeting in Jaipur last year, when they exchanged views on mainstreaming Sustainable Development Goals in the policy domain in our respective countries. I will strongly suggest that this initiative be further formalized. It will help our women parliamentarians to associate themselves with the BRICS process.

It is also suggested that the ongoing work on BRICS Sports Council, Agricultural Cooperation, Network University and Customs Cooperation be further strengthened.

On Prime Minister Modi’s initiative, the first High-level Meeting on Traditional Medicine was convened in New Delhi in December 2016. The process has been carried forward by China when the next Meeting was organised.

A long-term mechanism for traditional medicine exchanges and cooperation has been established to promote mutual learning of traditional medicines and pass them down to future generations.

At the Xiamen Summit, we all agreed that a Golden Decade awaits the BRICS. PM Modi shared his vision in this regard. I hope we can work together to give this ambitious agenda practical shape in the coming months.
Excellencies, I thank you.

 

 

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