Delivered on 11.12.2016; Round Table 1.2: Venue: Carnival
[1400-1700 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 Co-chairs, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
In today’s world, connectivity has emerged as one of the most crucial element of the globalised and inter-connected world. Connectivity has been also been identified as the key to growth and development, and an essential element to achieve the overall goal of eliminating poverty under SDGs.
2. Migration being one of the oldest strategies of mankind against poverty and connectivity one of the biggest enabler for migration makes it even more important for us to reflect on this very important topic.
3. With these opening words, I express my delegation’s deep appreciation to Bangladesh, the present Chair to select ‘Connectivity and Migration’ as the topic for this Round Table. I also want to place on record the hard work done by the GFMD Secretariat in preparations for this meeting and excellent documentation.
4. For us in India, the history of connectivity dates back more than 1600 years ago when a 65 year old Chinese Monk named Fa Xian (Fa-Hien) made his maiden pilgrimage to India to look for Buddhist scriptures. The route along which he travelled was later called the Silk Route and the route he choose to go back to China via Indian Ocean was named Maritime Silk Route. For Indian civilization, connectivity with outside world embodies the spirit of peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and hard working.
5. As we all know, connectivity enhances people to people contacts; links markets with production centres; matches demand and supply of labour markets; provide easy access to health and education to the masses; helps in promoting sustainable cities and communities; provide strong foundation to industry by providing backward and forward linkages, among others. These are also some of important SDGs which get fulfilled by stronger and efficient connectivity.
6. Realizing the importance of connectivity, India has paid special attention towards restoration and modernization of connectivity as an integral element of development. We see in domestic, neighbourhood and regional spheres, connectivity as an important enabler for growth, employment and prosperity. Our approach towards connectivity is not only limited to transport network but has also included digital connectivity, transmission lines, among others. The overall approach has been to ensure that connectivity in all its forms promotes understanding among and within societies, nurture exchanges of ideas and knowledge, enhance people’s interaction, and propagate science-technology and innovation among countries and societies.
7. India’s Neighbourhood First’ policy has got special attention by our Government and has seen visible enhancement of cooperative ties, in this field. A range of new initiatives for rail, road, border crossings, waterways, coastal shipping and energy has been taken with Bangladesh. With Bhutan, our longstanding energy cooperation has reached much higher levels with the acceleration in implementation of various hydro-electric, transmission and road connectivity projects. Similarly, our connectivity with South East Asia has various ongoing projects like Trilateral Highway connecting India with Thailand via Myanmar, the Kaladan Multimodal project and the Rih-Tedim road, with Myanmar. The intensity with which we now address South East Asia is sought to be captured in the new terminology of ‘Act East’.
8. We have given special emphasis to provide rail, road, digital and transmission connectivity with Nepal with special provisions to provide market access to its products and services to the large Indian market.
9. In the field of digital connectivity, India advocates for a multi-stakeholder approach aimed at preserving a free and integrated internet, but has also calls for a more democratic distribution of critical internet infrastructure and for closer international cooperation on cyber security and cyber crime to build trust and stability among the various stakeholders. The Digital India initiative seeks to connect another billion alone in India to the Internet, and through it, not only to the larger world but also to its own government.
10. In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, we are confident that the deliberations and outcome of 9th GFMD Meeting, particularly of this Round Table will further the agenda of connectivity in bringing the people and societies closer and help in creating a diverse and harmonious society, a win-win situation for all.
Thank you Mr. Co-chairs.