Excellency President Thein Sein, Excellencies,
Let me, at the outset, congratulate you and thank you and the people of Myanmar for the excellent arrangements and for the warm hospitality, for which this beautiful country is well known. As a neighbour, India takes great pride and delight in Myanmar’s success as the host of this event.
Since entering office six months ago my government has moved with a great sense of priority and speed to turn our ‘Look East Policy’ into ‘Act East Policy’. The East Asia Summit is an important pillar of this policy.
No other forum brings together such a large collective weight of global population, youth, economy and military strength. Nor is any other forum is so critical for peace, stability and prosperity in Asia-Pacific and the world.
Over the last eight Summits, we have made progress in a number of areas. We worked on important issues. We have begun to establish a culture and habit of dialogue and cooperation.
In the same vein, we should also start major initiatives on energy partnership, for example, in the area of solar energy, with the objective of bringing affordable clean energy within the reach of all.
Excellencies, Ebola has once again highlighted the importance of international cooperation in combating pandemics. India has made a contribution of US $ 12 million in the efforts against Ebola. We also have 251 police personnel, including 104 women personnel, as part of the UN Mission in Liberia. They have all remained on duty in Liberia.
The initiatives taken by the East Asia Summit in disaster preparedness and response are truly commendable.
Excellencies, our region has a number of complex and unresolved questions in the area of security. There is a need for a serious and sustained dialogue to strengthen the climate of understanding and confidence among all stakeholders in the region.
In a world of inter-dependence and globalization, there is no option but to follow international laws and norms. This also applies to maritime security.
For this reason, following international law and norms is important for peace and stability in South China Sea as well. This also includes the 1982 UN Convention on Law of the Sea, which should be the basis for resolving disputes peacefully. We also hope that the efforts to conclude a Code of Conduct on South China Sea by a process of consensus would be successful soon.
We also have to ensure that cyber and space remain a source of connectivity and prosperity, not new theatres for conflict.
Challenges of terrorism and extremism have increased. There is close link with drug trafficking, arms smuggling and money laundering.
We support the East Asia Summit Declaration on the Islamic State. At the same time, comprehensive response against terrorism requires a genuinely international partnership against all terrorism. Those who believe in humanity must come together. We should also reject any linkage between religion and terrorism.
Excellencies, a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which gives equal emphasis to goods and services, could become a springboard for regional integration and prosperity.
Excellencies, we convey our best wishes for the goal of creating an ASEAN Community in 2015. ASEAN’s success is an inspiration for broader integration in the Asia-Pacific region. India has great confidence in Asian centrality and leadership in pursuing that goal.