New Delhi: Minister of State for External Affairs Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh on Wednesday underlined the need for greater collaboration among the IORA Member States in the true spirit of solidarity to combat the Covid pandemic.
Delivering the keynote address during the 8th Edition of the Indian Ocean Dialogue, the Minister noted the critical role of new and emerging technologies and re-affirmed India’s readiness to extend all possible support and cooperation in this regard.
“The Pandemic has disrupted supply chains, impacted manufacturing and affected trade in goods and services, altering not just the various dimensions of our day to day business but our very way of life. It has provided the backdrop for rethinking our approach on economic policies as well as global outlook. The pandemic has brought out the many inadequacies in the global health system and health has emerged as a more serious priority for all societies. The silver lining is that the COVID-19 global pandemic is not only a story of global disruptions but also our resilience and solidarity.
“India, on its part, is trying to foster meaningful multi-stakeholder partnerships, sharing of advanced and frugal technologies, collaboration in vaccine and pharmaceutical production and transparency in health information among others. India’s contribution to the world despite our own domestic challenges in the time of the pandemic is well known and acknowledged. In the Indian Ocean region, we have extended our full support and assistance in the form of medical supplies including vaccines, as well as financial assistance,” he said.
“The IOD seeks to explore areas where IORA can contribute towards shaping a peaceful and prosperous future for the Indian Ocean.
“We recognize that a different world awaits us. It is one that puts a greater premium on trust, technology and transparency as well as resilience and reliability. IORA, as the pre-eminent regional organization has a critical role to play in this regard. On its part, India remains committed to sharing her experience and resources in the spirit of solidarity,” the Minister stressed.
The 8th Edition of the Indian Ocean Dialogue was held under the theme ‘Post Pandemic Indian Ocean: Leveraging Digital Technologies for Health, Education, Development and Trade in the IORA Member States’. It was held virtually today, with the assistance of the Indian Council for World Affairs and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Secretariat.
Senior-level experts from various Ministries/Agencies of the Government think tanks, national lead organizations of the IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners working on related subjects inter alia participated in the Dialogue, an official statement said.
The aim of the 8th IOD was to understand how IORA Member States embraced and used various digital technologies and platforms to overcome COVID-19 disruptions in the Health, Education, Development and Trade sectors, as also the opportunities that were accrued by using these technologies. The Dialogue comprised four Plenary Sessions with a focus on the Health, Education, Development and Trade sectors.
During the Panel discussions, the IORA Member States and Dialogue Partners shared their successes and best practices with regard to digital technologies to fight the pandemic and also highlighted new digital needs and innovative approaches for harnessing these technologies for achieving the UN 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals among others.
The Dialogue aimed at triggering cooperation among the IORA Member States in the field of digital technologies while ensuring digital inclusion and bridging the digital device.
The Valedictory address was delivered by Secretary (East) Riva Ganguly Das wherein she expressed her satisfaction at the successful organizing of the Dialogue despite the challenges posed by the pandemic by means of use of the digital platform in line with the theme of the Dialogue.
She reiterated that the IORA Member States have immense scope for potential engagement in the various key areas highlighted during the Dialogue such as Health, Education, Trade & Development and underlined the importance of sharing of experience and best practices as well as developing innovative and frugal approaches to solving shared problems in the region.
The Indian Ocean Dialogue is a premier track 1.5 forum for open and free-flowing dialogue among various stakeholders – scholars, experts, analysts, and policymakers from governments, think tanks and civil societies on strategic issues of interest and concern facing the region and beyond.
India has hosted the 1st and the 6th Edition of the Indian Ocean dialogue in Kerala and New Delhi in September 2014 and December 2019 respectively. The last (7th) Indian Ocean Dialogue was hosted by the United Arab Emirates and held virtually on 2-3 February 2021.