Delivered on 11.12.2016; Round Table 3.1: Venue: Hall of Fame
[0930-1230 hrs, time limit 3-5 min]
9th GFMD Summit Meeting
(10-12 December 2016; Dhaka)
Statement by H.E. Mr. Ajit Kumar,
Ambassador & Permanent Representative of India to UN Office and other
International Organizations in Geneva
Distinguished Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
At the outset, I express my delegation’s deep appreciation to the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh for organizing the 9th GFMD Summit Meeting. I also convey our deep gratitude for warm welcome, excellent arrangements and generous hospitality extended to us in this historic city of Dhaka. I also want to place on record the hard work done by the GFMD Secretariat in preparations for this meeting and excellent documentation.
2.We are fully cognizant of the fact that international migrants face specific challenges in their place of work in destination countries, which get aggravated multiple times during situations of crisis, particularly related to conflicts and natural disasters. This topic has been on top of the agenda of humanitarian discourse at global, regional and at national levels. India being one of the largest sending, receiving and transit country for migrants is fully cognizant of these facts and has taken wide ranging measures to effectively address such situations.
3.India has an impeccable record of swiftly and professionally managing migrant crisis even in most difficult and challenging situations. Our approach towards such situations has always been ‘whole of Government’ and ‘whole of society approach’ where available resources and capabilities are analyzed and applied to realize the overall objective. One of the recent examples is the evacuation of migrants from situations of crisis due to conflict from Yemen. In order to safeguard the interests of migrants and provide them appropriate protection, the Government of India launched Operation Rahat which means Operation Relief from April 1-11, 2015. It evacuated over 5600 people from various parts of Yemen by using all means of transport may it be road, air or ship. This mammoth operation was carried out under the overall guidance of the Minister of State for External Affairs, General V.K. Singh, who was leading from the front. This operation evacuated 4640 Indian nationals, 960 foreigners from 41 countries spread across all the continents. The evacuation plan was carefully designed keeping the vulnerability and special needs of migrants and had specific provisions were made to take care the needs of persons with disability, old age, pregnant women and children.
4.Similarly, India being one of the affected countries of the devastating earthquake of 25 April 2015, was the first responder in Nepal which was worst hit by this earthquake resulting in over 7200 deaths and affecting over 8 million people. We evacuated over 70 foreign nationals from 15 countries, mostly from Europe and facilitated transfer of large number of foreigners via India, who got trapped in Nepal.
5.There are many such good examples available and we should use these events to learn lessons share our experience, foster cooperation with countries, UN and other International organizations, national and local actors etc. to further improve the protection measures to migrants in situations of crisis.
6.The word ‘migration’ has quite large scope but we should remain focused on the forum of GFMD to address the developmental dimension of migration and look for ways and means to further enhance it, and maximize gains for all the stakeholders.
7.We would like to utilize the platform of GFMD for promoting team work among all stakeholders to maximize cooperation and coordination to address the challenges faced by migrants, particularly during the situations of crisis. We call upon all nations and stakeholders to work with a spirit of cooperation on the lines of commitments agreed under 2030 sustainable development agenda with an objective to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration through implementation of planned and well managed migration policies; and work towards eliminating the barriers to migration.
Thank you Mr. Co-chairs.