DMZ International Forum on the Peace Economy
(organized by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) and the National Research Council for Economics, Humanities, and Social Sciences (NRC) of the Republic of Korea)
Length of the video message- 7-8 minutes.
- At the outset, I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to speak on this very important meeting.
- In 2020 as we observe the 70th anniversary of the Korean War, this year's "DMZ international forum" has special meaning. As anniversaries are moments of reflection, the forum is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the developments in the Korean peninsula.
- The Korean War and the peace process occupies an important space in India's diplomatic history, it was amongst the major international issues that independent India played an important role.
- Following the outbreak of the Korean War, Indian efforts were to break the deadlock between the two sides at the UN to find a mediated solution through proactive diplomacy. India sent a medical mission to support the humanitarian efforts.India chaired Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission (NNRC)andoffered the service of the Custodian Force of India to oversee the repatriation process.
- Of course much has changed since then, so toohas the nature of the problem in the Korean Peninsula. However, the shadow of the Korean War still looms large.
- Developments in the Korean Peninsula, including denuclearisation, are significant for India from a security perspective considering the growing linkages between the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions underlined by the emergentdiscourse onthe Indo-Pacific. The issues of nuclear and missile technology proliferation and its linkages with South Asia are of critical importance to India's security interest. The history of this issue is a standing example of how there is a deep inter connectedness between our security concerns.
- Under the leadership of President Moon Jae-in, during the last three years, we have witnessed a new momentum in the direction of peace in the Korean Peninsula.
- As seven decades of experience reveal, there is no alternative to dialogue and diplomacy in finding a solution to the Korean Peninsula problem. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his greeting message to the President and People of the Republic of Korea on the 70th Anniversary of the Outbreak of the Korean War in June earlier this year, reiterated India's support for the dialogue and peace process in the Korean Peninsula.
- Today the situation in the Korean Peninsula, as in the broader Indo-Pacific is becoming more complex and uncertain in the context of structural changes that are taking place. Globalisation and rebalancing are the two fundamental phenomena that have been driving changes in the region.
- This region does not need much explanation in understanding the merits of globalisation. However, something that is less realised is its unequal distribution of benefits – within societies and between them. The trade frictions that acquired a much sharper salience of late manifest a trendof rising nationalism and backlash against globalisation.
- On a positive note, the emerging multi-polarity in the world and particularly in Asia is generating a more balanced discourse and narratives. However, the process of rebalancing will not be an easy one. The transitional phase between the old and a new order, which is clearly one that we are going through, remain highly uncertain, so is the temptation for unilateralism on the part of certain countries. Recent events in our region confirm this trend. This phase also manifest a weakening of multilateralism and a crisis of a rules-based order.
- The present COVID-19 crisis has not only accelerated these trends and sharpened conflicts but also revealed the widening gap in the demand and supply of international cooperation.
- In a context where issues are acquiring more and more global and transnational character what is required is more international cooperation through effective multilateralism. It also means reforming existing multilateral institutions to reflect today's realities. We cannot afford to let multilateralism be held hostage to great power competition.
- Similarly, ensuring peaceful international relations in the context of order transition, demands more dialogue, greater transparency and observance of international laws and norms.
- India's commitment to an open, transparent, inclusive and rule-based regional order in the Indo-Pacific has been articulated through the vision of “Security and Growth for All in the Region” (SAGAR) and practical steps like Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.
- Recognising the COVID-19 pandemic as an important turning point and the biggest challenge the world is facing since the World War II, PM Narendra Modi at the recently held G20 Virtual Summit, called for a Global Index, that focuses on 4Ts- Talent, Technology, Transparency and Trusteeship as the basis for international cooperation in the post-Covid world order.
- Last but not the least, let me discuss few thoughts on what this means for India-South Korea relations. India-Korea relations has gone from strength to strength in the past two decades. The two countries became strategic partners in 2010 and Special Strategic Partners in 2015.
- As reflected in the 2018 vision statement- India and South Korea remain committed to a peaceful, stable, secure, free, open, inclusive and rules-based regional order. Greater convergence of interest and complementarities between India's Act East Policy and Korean's New Southern Policy will provide further opportunities for strengthening our bilateral and regional partnership.
- Crises reveal true friends and reliable partners. Through this year, striving and surviving in the face of the pandemic, India and Korea have strengthened their bond through collaboration in responding to the COVID pandemic.
- As the 3rd and 4th largest economies of Asia, India and South Korea are uniquely placed in the emerging regional order. I would like to conclude my remarks with the assertion that it is in our shared interest to work towards a multi-polar Asia in achieving our shared vision of an open, inclusive and rules-based regional order.
- Thank you.