Sec Riva Ganguly Das holds Asia Cooperation Dialogue

Jan 22: The 17th Ministerial Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) under the theme, “The New Normal and Safe and Healthy Tourism” was held on 21 January 2021 virtually. Ms. Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs represented India at the meeting.

In her remarks, Secretary (East) called for a coordinated response against the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, underlining that strong multilateral cooperation is critical for global economic recovery. In this context, Secretary (East) stated that while the revival of old businesses to bring back livelihoods is important, we must also focus on innovation and complementarities, and explore new business models.

Recognizing the strong need to revive and rebuild the Tourism sector in order to ensure jobs as well as for the protection of cultural and natural heritage, Secretary (East) highlighted that India is focusing on tourism promotion as a part of 3T’s strategy which includes “Trade, Tourism, and Technology”. Secretary (East) also underscored the need to strengthen efforts aimed at the development of equitable and universal access to diagnostic tools, treatments, and vaccines in order to promote safe and healthy tourism. In this context, Secretary (East) mentioned that vaccines from India have started reaching India’s neighborhood under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Seychelles.

Secretary (East) highlighted the various initiatives which India has undertaken to promote connectivity in Asia including the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, and its possible extension to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Initiatives such as International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) have brought a positive focus on global climate action as well as disaster-resilient infrastructure development.

Underlining that terrorism continues to pose a critical threat to global peace and security, Secretary (East) called for greater cooperation to eliminate terrorism in all its forms. Secretary (East) further emphasized that the common challenges in the Indo-Pacific region with ASEAN at its center require renewed coordination and cooperation. The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) announced by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2019 calls for a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region, which promotes Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).

Secretary (East) thanked the Government of Turkey for steering the ACD as the Chair and for hosting the 17th ACD Ministerial Meeting.

At the end of the Meeting, the “Ankara Declaration” was adopted by all the ACD countries.

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