India values multipolar order premised on territorial integrity of all countries: Harsh Vardhan Shringla

India values a multipolar global order underpinned by international law and premised upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Wednesday.

In a virtual address at a multilateral forum, he also called for making the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) more representative of the developing countries in order to build trust and confidence in its ability to provide leadership to the entire world.

Talking about major geopolitical issues, he said India’s vision of the Indo-Pacific as a free, open and inclusive region underpinned by international law is premised on the common pursuit of progress and prosperity.

Shringla identified terrorism, radicalisation, drug trafficking and organised crime as the key challenges facing Asia and pitched for “concerted action” to deal with these issues.

The foreign secretary was speaking at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), a multilateral forum advanced by Kazakhstan in 1992 for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.

In this direction, India has traditionally maintained close and friendly cooperation with regional organisations in Asia, including the CICA.

“The UN Security Council must be made more representative of developing countries in order to build trust and confidence in its ability to provide leadership to the entire world,” Shringla said.

“India values a multipolar international order, underpinned by international law, premised upon respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, resolution of international disputes through peaceful negotiations, and free and open access for all to the global commons,” he added.

The foreign secretary’s comments came amid growing global concerns over China‘s increasing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific region and elsewhere.

“India’s clarion call for a reformed multilateralism, which reflects appreciation of contemporary geopolitical realities, is a pressing need now more than ever before” Shringla said.

“Multilateral institutions must be made more accountable to their membership, they must be open and welcoming to a diversity of viewpoints and cognisant of new voices, especially those from Asia,” he noted.

Referring to the coronavirus pandemic, the foreign secretary said it has brought about unprecedented global challenges, exposing vulnerabilities and underscoring the interdependence in Asia and across the world.

He said this interdependence has also been the region’s greatest strength as it collectively battles the crisis.

“This spirit of mutual support among countries in Asia, with its huge population, vast market and inherent vibrancy, can be an asset to help us rebound from the adverse medical, economic and social consequences that the pandemic has left in its wake,” Shringla said.

He observed that though the pandemic has exposed the faultlines from the vulnerability of global supply chains to inequitable vaccine distribution, it has also brought to focus the need for global solidarity and strengthened multilateralism.

“The re-imagined post-pandemic world will make profoundly different demands from the multilateral system, which must evolve so as to be fit for purpose and capable of inspiring confidence in its ability to effectively meet those demands,” Shringla said.

The foreign secretary said the CICA could be an important vehicle for advancing peace, progress and prosperity in Asia, in consonance with the growing role of the continent in international relations.

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