The Indian Foreign Minister, Dr.S.Jaishankar, made eight points in his keynote speech at the inaugural session of the 6th Indian Ocean Conference in Bangladesh.

The Conference’s focus on peace, prosperity and partnership for a resilient future is apt for current times, D.Jaishankar said at the outset. He then made eight points for the consideration of the delegates.

  1. The release by Bangladesh of its Indo-Pacific Outlook last month underlines the need to recognize the importance of the 1982 UN Convention on Law of the Sea(UNCLOS).
  2. Many nations of the Indian Ocean still address developmental challenges that may no longer be relevant in the Pacific. There are distinct issues that arise from regional identities, colonial experiences and geo-political relationships.
  3. Members of the BIMSTEC are very cognizant of the challenges in governance, modernization and security. And we are confident of dealing with them through deeper cooperation and shared efforts.
  4. Unsustainable debt generated by unviable projects is a significant shared concern. Encouraging opaque lending practices, exorbitant ventures and price points that are unrelated to the market, are bound to bite us back. This is the time to reflect and reform, not one to repeat and reiterate.
  5. Connectivity is a particularly crucial issue. Restoring and enhancing flows between distinct regions is the utmost priority. For India, this means a land connect to South East Asia and a multi-modal one to the Gulf and beyond. Central Asia offers its own distinct challenges due to obstacles in between.
  6. Nations of the Indian Ocean are united in their maritime interest. We should ensure that global good should not be sacrificed at the altar of national dominance. Exchanging information on white shipping, cooperating on coastal surveillance or collaborating on maritime domain awareness are practical actions to back up diplomacy.
  7. We must also be conscious of the threats to the social fabric posed by extremism and fundamentalism taking advantage of democratic openness. The costs of not doing so are also starkly apparent to all of us today.
  8. Nations of the Indian Ocean today have the responsibility of shaping the narrative about values, practices and correctness. It is essential that their culture, history and traditions are presented to the world.


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