Visit of Hon'ble Minster of State for Human Resource Development to Tehran

Visit of Hon'ble Minster of State for Human Resource Development to Tehran

Dr. D. Purandeswari, Hon’ble Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India, visited Tehran for the 9th Asia Cooperation Dialogue Ministerial Meeting, which was held on 8-9 November, 2010.

Following is the text of the statement made by the Hon’ble Minister during her address to the meeting.
Your Excellency Mr. Manouchehr Mottaki,
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Esteemed Ministers, Colleagues and Friends,

1. At the outset, I would like to express my profound gratitude to our esteemed host, the Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran for the gracious hospitality extended to all of us and for hosting the 9th ACD Ministerial Meeting and providing us this opportunity for exchange of views. 

2. I would also like to avail myself of this opportunity to convey my profound appreciations to the Islamic Republic of Iran, as the Chair of ACD, for their efforts, for further consolidation of cooperation in ACD. 

3.  I would also like to compliment our distinguished colleague, the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka for the dynamic stewardship provided by Sri Lanka during their Chairmanship and also greet the State of Kuwait on assuming the next Chair of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue Forum and assure them of our support and cooperation during their Chairmanship.

4. The theme, of our 9th ACD Foreign Ministers Meeting "toward Asian Solidarity and Integrity: Promoting Prosperity, Peace and Justice", is timely and reflects what we are trying to achieve under the ACD – an Asian Community built on the principles of peace and justice and promoting prosperity of its people.

5. ACD as a pan Asian forum bringing together 31 countries of our continent provides us a unique opportunity to realize our vision for Asian integrity and solidarity.  Through its various projects ranging from poverty alleviation, culture, science and technology, infrastructure etc it can be a key vehicle in our continent to promote prosperity and inclusive growth. Its dialogue dimension through the meeting of Ministers – has helped us have close consultation on issues of mutual interest.
Excellencies,

6. While globalization has created new opportunities, it has also created a new set of challenges i.e, climate change, environmental degradation, food security, energy security etc all of which challenge our efforts towards poverty alleviation. Poverty and destitution still remain major challenges for developing countries. We need to expend more efforts in moving forward in our cooperation in the field of poverty alleviation.

7. The recent financial crisis has taught us the importance of cooperation in addressing new and emerging cross border crises. Our cooperation in the financial field assumes importance in this context. This is an area where we can build on our synergies. I am happy to note that many of our experts are in touch with each other and have attended various conferences/workshops organized by Reserve Bank of India and our Ministry of Finance in this field.

8. India has taken several initiatives in ACD project cooperation area.  In this regard, I am happy to mention that as a prime mover in biotechnology, India has set up a Regional Centre of Biotechnology Training & Education in Faridabad, Haryana under the auspices of UNESCO. This is a Center of excellence in inter-disciplinary education, training and research in life sciences and biotechnology and would act as a hub of biotechnology expertise for the Asian region.  The Center offers training courses and research programmes for a period of three to six months in the areas of biotechnology and health care.  We would be happy to offer fellowships to our ACD partners at this center.

9. On the Track-II front, India had proposed to host the first meeting of the ACD Think Tanks.  Research & Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) is the India’s nodal point for Track-II Initiative. The meeting would focus on two themes, namely, (i) policy-mechanisms for trade and investment integration; and (ii) transport and telecommunication connectivity.  We had received only some nominations and would urge all members to send their nominations early. We propose to host the first meeting during March/April of 2011.

10.  We circulated a combined India-Kazakhstan Working Paper on Transport Linkages to other ACD member countries at the last ACD Ministerial meeting in Colombo in October 2009. In this regard, I would like to refer to the comments made by many of the distinguished Ministers who had spoken about the importance of connectivity. Hence, we would be happy to have comments from the member countries on this paper in order to take forward our cooperation in this key area in a meaningful way. An early finalization of this paper would pave the way for enhancement of trade and economic linkages in our region.
Excellencies,

11. To support the process of Asian integration and developing a better understanding amongst the people of our countries, we believe that promoting people – to- people contacts is important and accordingly we propose to conduct a seminar on “promoting intra-ACD Tourism” in September 2011.

12.  Human Resource Development is another area where India has been sharing its development experience with partner countries. In the spirit of South-South cooperation, India has been offering over 1500 scholarships and fellowships annually to ACD partner countries. It is our wish to expand this cooperation further with our ACD partners to cover IT, Disaster Mitigation etc.

13. On e-education front, I am happy to note that the Asia-e-University has launched its operations in India from January 2009. We would be happy to expand cooperation of our universities with Asia-e-University through various exchange programmes.

14.  ACD cooperation is still in its initial stages. It has significant potential for cooperation in areas such as transfer of technology, Clean Development Mechanisms, climate change mitigation etc which are capital and technology intensive. These are areas which need our attention.

15.  Excellency, I was particularly pleased to note that the Chair, Islamic Republic of Iran has proposed to host the meeting of High Level Study Group early next year. I have some suggestions to make in this regard: First, the High Level Study Group Meeting should focus on strengthening the projects aspect of our cooperation - if necessary by reviewing and consolidating the existing projects. Second, the frequency and spacing of meetings, both of Ministerial and Officials level should be reviewed to ensure adequate follow up takes place. Third one of the inadequacies noticed was the non availability of funding for projects - the meeting should also focus on this important aspect including on how to collaborate with International Funding Institutions to implement the projects. And lastly, I would urge the meeting also to look into ways and means of promoting communication amongst ourselves which is at present restricted to only Ministerial and official level meetings and does not involve the society at large.
16.  Before concluding, I would like to reiterate India’s support and commitment to furthering cooperation in ACD.  Asia has the potential, the resources and the will – it is we who have to make it happen. 
Thank you.

 

Tehran

09 November 2010

 
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