ADDRESS AT THE INAUGURAL SESSION OF BRICS POLITICAL PARTIES, THINK TANKS AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS FORUM
Fuzhou City, China on 11 June, 2017.
Namaskar! Excellencies, distinguished leaders from the BRICS and other countries, ladies and gentlemen! Greetings from the government and people of India!
Let me at the very outset congratulate the IDCPC for hosting this event. It is for the first time that leaders of the political parties from BRICS countries have come together to step into a domain that is jealously guarded by the diplomats and governments.
We, the five BRICS nations, are a unique gathering of the 21st Century. We are populous countries; big territories; rising economies; and we come from regions as far and large and distinctive as Eurasia, Africa and Latin America. From Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town to Mumbai to Shanghai to Vladivostok – we are all connected by the global maritime highway that includes some of the most happening sea lanes today.
But that is not what makes us unique. Friends! Our uniqueness lies in the fact that we are the significant ‘Other’ – the non-Western world.
The 20th Century global narrative was dominated by institutions and ideas that originated from and were led by the powerful countries in the West, including Western Europe and America. They have done their bit for the development and distress of the world in the century just passed.
A greater and bigger role awaits the BRICS nations on the international arena. In order for the 20th Century institutions like the United Nations, the Security Council etc to remain relevant, it is important that the new power blocs like the BRICS countries get greater participation in the decision making mechanism of these institutions. Especially India, South Africa and Brazil should find a more prominent role in these bodies.
An important feature of the new Century is the emergence of a multi-polar world order. It is redefining interstate relations today. The international institutions need to be reformed in the light of this new situation so as to democratise the system of international relations based on the principles of rule of law and multi-stakeholderism.
Fruitful cooperation within BRICS will certainly result in consistently enhancing its authoritative and influential role in the global affairs. Towards that end we should build a narrative that respects sovereignty, security and sentiments of each member country. BRICS should be a forum that respects, protects and promotes the national priorities of each member country on one hand and emerges as an influential counter narrative in global affairs on the other. Building of such a coherent narrative for BRICS is an important challenge that leaders of the political parties and think tanks can shoulder.
Advent of this Millennium has seen the global power axis shifting away from the Pacific-Atlantic region. Today it is the Indo-Pacific region that has emerged as the new global power house. Our futures are invariably linked to the Indo-Pacific sea lanes. Facilitating efforts to build an open, well-balanced and inclusive architecture in the region based on shared principles like peace, security, freedom of navigation and development will help promote legitimate interests of all states. Leaders of BRICS countries should take the lead in promoting a relevant dialogue in that direction.
Terrorism has emerged as the single most lethal challenge to mankind today. BRICS countries, together with several other countries in the world, have been the victims of one form of terrorism or the other, be it ideological, religious, political, racial or ethnic. BRICS countries should stand united in the fight against terror in all its forms and manifestations.
Terrorism has today become an instrument of state policy for some countries; while a number of rogue terror groups wander around in the lawless lands of some other regions in the world. Need of the hour is for countries to work towards dismantling terror infrastructure, destroying terror networks, and drying up the sources of terror financing and weapons supply.
Our efficacy and efficiency to take on this global challenge is sometimes hampered by narrow self interests and double standards. We need to be convinced, and convince others through our actions, that all forms of terrorism is bad and any distinction of ‘your terrorist’ and ‘my terrorist’ or ‘good terrorist’ and ‘bad terrorist’ is unscrupulous and ill-conceived. BRICS countries should take the lead in an early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
This is the calling of the new century. We are here as a group to ensure that the world in this century and age has a better present and a safer future. We are no doubt a non-Western coalition; but we are not anti-West. Every country in the world has something to offer to the sum total of the world’s good. The BRICS is an alliance that can define what constitutes the good of the world at this juncture.
Thank You and best wishes for the success of the next BRICS summit.