NEW DELHI, JANUARY 9: Terrorism, threat of proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and climate change are the critical challenges that confront us today, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj said on Wednesday.
“Today, no country, big or small, is immune from this existential threat, particularly, terrorism actively supported and sponsored by states. In this digital age, the challenge is even greater, with a greater vulnerability to radicalisation,” Swaraj said addressing the ongoing Raisina Dialogue jointly organised by the Observer Research Foundation and the Ministry of External Affairs.
She reminded the audience that as far back as 1996, India proposed a draft Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the United Nations, but it remains a draft to this day, because we cannot agree on a common definition and “ensuring zero-tolerance towards terrorism, and those who use it as an instrument of convenience, is the need of the hour.”
Further drawing attention to the threat of climate change, Swaraj said, “Developing and under-developed nations are the worst victims of climate change, with neither the capacity nor the resources to meet the crisis.”
“We have risen to meet the challenge,” she said referring to International Solar Alliance India jointly launched with France last year with the participation of 120 countries.
Talking of India’s global engagement in the last 4-and-half years, Swaraj highlighted 5 elements the first of which is rebuilding bridges with India’s immediate and extended neighbourhood. Stating that India has devoted a much higher level of resources and attention to our neighbourhood, Swaraj added, “Our revitalised Act East and Think West paradigms have further broadened the reach of our strategic and economic ‘neighbourhood’.”
Another aspect she said was that India is building sustainable development partnerships stretching from the Indian Ocean and Pacific Islands to the Caribbean, and from the continent of Africa to the Americas and have expanded “both in geographical reach and sectoral coverage.”
“Note that, we refer to these as partnerships, and not assistance,” she stressed.
Swaraj said that global disruptions and ensuing complexities are ongoing phenomena, she said the crucial question is how do we respond to these transitions?
On this she stated that India’s engagement with the world is rooted in its civilisational ethos and while the prosperity of Indians, both at home and abroad, and security of our citizens are of paramount importance, Swaraj said, “Self-interest alone, does not propel us.”
“India therefore stands for a democratic and rules-based international order, in which all nations thrive as equals,” she reiterated. (Courtesy: The Hindu)