New Delhi: Your Excellency President Xi Jinping, my esteemed BRICS Colleagues, Distinguished Leaders
I am delighted to be here with you all today. Your countries are close and valued partners of India. And I am pleased to exchange perspectives with you on the shared priority of achieving comprehensive sustainable development. I thank President Xi Jinping for bringing us together for this dialogue.
Two years since the adoption of UN’s 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the imperative of collaborative action to achieve the goals is even stronger. Recently in July, India completed its first voluntary national review of SDGs. The bedrock of our development agenda lies in the notion of “SabkaSaath,SabkaVikaas” – that is: Collective Effort, Inclusive Growth. We have mapped each of the SDGs to our own development programmes and scheme, both at the federal and state level. Our Parliament too has taken the initiative to organize Parliamentary debates on SDGs. Our programmes are geared to accomplish these priority goals in a time-bound manner. To cite just one example, our three-pronged approach of providing a bank account to the unbanked, providing a biometric identity to all, and using innovative mobile governance solutions, has enabled Direct Benefit Transfers to almost 360 million people for the first time.
We would like to see such domestic efforts buttressed by strong international partnerships. And, for this, we stand ready to do our part. India has a long tradition of partnerships with fellow developing countries, while pursuing our own aspirations for growth. At every step, we have shared our experience and resources across a range of sectors: from strengthening democratic institutions to deploying high-tech solutions for public good. Earlier this year, we launched the South Asia Satellite to benefit willing regional partners in meeting their developmental goals in education, healthcare, communication, and disaster management. For over half a century, India’s flagship initiative – Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation, ITEC – has offered training and skill development to 161 partner countries from Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Caribbean and Pacific Island states. From Africa alone, over the last decade, over 25,000 students have trained in India on ITEC scholarships. At the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in 2015, with participation of all 54 African countries, we decided to double the number of ITEC scholarships to 50,000 over a period of only 5 years. The “Solar Mamas” of Africa, trained in India, are lighting up thousands of homes across the African continent. Our growing engagement with Africa has led to the African Development Bank holding its Annual Meeting outside Africa for the first time, in India earlier this year. Our development partnerships projects are providing water, electricity, roads, healthcare, tele-medicine, and basic infrastructure to people in dozens of countries across the world. And, in all of this, our “no strings attached” model of cooperation is driven purely by the requirements and priorities of our partner countries.
The countries present here together represent almost half of the humanity. Whatever we do, will impact the world substantially. So, it is our solemn duty to make a better world – brick by brick, or, through BRICS. Yesterday, I had spoken about the BRICS driving the global transformation in the next ten years for it to be a Golden Decade. I suggest that this can be brought about with our proactive approach, policies, and action, on the following ten Noble Commitments:
1. Creating a Safer World: by organized and coordinated action on at least three issues: Counter Terrorism, Cyber Security and Disaster Management;
2. Creating a Greener World: by taking concerted action on countering Climate Change, through initiatives such as the International Solar Alliance;
3. Creating an Enabled World: by sharing and deploying suitable technologies to enhance efficiency, economy and effectiveness;
4. Creating an Inclusive World: by economic mainstreaming of our people including in the banking and financial system;
5. Creating a Digital World: by bridging the digital divide within and outside our economies;
6. Creating a Skilled World: by giving future-ready skills to millions of our youth;
7. Creating a Healthier World: by cooperating in research and development to eradicate diseases, and enabling affordable healthcare for all;
8. Creating an Equitable World: by providing equality of opportunity to all, particularly through gender equality;
9. Creating a Connected World: by enabling free flow of goods, persons and services; and,
10. Creating a Harmonious World: by promoting ideologies, practices, and heritage that are centered on peaceful coexistence and living in harmony with nature.
Through these agenda points, and action on them, we will be contributing directly to the welfare of the Global Community in addition to welfare of our own people. And in this, India stands ready as a willing and committed partner to enhance cooperation and support each other’s national efforts; I look forward to our progress together on this path. I commend President Xi for ably steering the BRICS Chairmanship for the year 2017, and for his warm welcome and hospitality in this beautiful city of Xiamen. I also welcome President Zuma and commit India’s full support for Johannesburg Summit next year.
I thank you.