India, Brazil and South Arica (IBSA) countries share common values, aspirations, and vision for development. Values of democracy, pluralism, multiculturalism, tolerance, social-inclusion; rule-based international order, UN reforms, and shared commitment to 2030 agenda are enshrined deeply in IBSA cooperation. The three countries share a lot more in common than other groupings and we should seek to strengthen these shared bonds. The 9th trilateral meeting of IBSA Foreign Ministers took place in New York on the sidelines of the UN General assembly. India was represented by External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj. Brazilian Foreign Minister Mr. Aloysio Nunes Ferreira and South African Minister for International Cooperation Ms. Lindiwe Sisulu also participated in the trilateral meeting.

The Indian External Affairs Minister said it is a happy coincidence that IBSA’s Fifteenth Anniversary coincides with Nelson Mandela’s birth centenary and 125th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s Pietermaritzburg incident in South Africa. In 2019, India is also celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The three nations have agreed to organize the Gandhi-Mandela Memorial Freedom Lecture and have also decided to further enhance coordination between their Permanent Representatives in New York, Geneva, and Paris.

India would be hosting the 6th IBSA Leaders’ Summit. The Sherpas’ of the three countries have decided to convene the IBSA Joint Working Groups meeting in priority sectors including health, education, defence, trade & investment, culture, energy, human settlement, and environment.

South-South Cooperation has been a pillar of IBSA Development Cooperation. The IBSA Joint Declaration on South-South cooperation would strengthen the grouping in shaping the multilateral discussions on South-South Cooperation. The members of IBSA decided to continue working together at various multilateral fora to mainstream our narrative in the ongoing global discourse.

The Sustainable Development Goals, as enshrined in the 2030 Agenda, accord centrality to development and quality-life to each human being. The success of IBSA Fund, which was initiated in 2004, demonstrates most vividly the strength of South-South cooperation and the work of our three countries in using innovative approaches to share development experiences to other parts of the world. IBSA Fund would be strengthened by enhancing the member countries’ contributions and also by tapping other resources.

IBSA reiterated that terrorism, non-state actors, and illicit financial flows undermine the very cause of development and prosperity. Terrorist organizations use sophisticated equipment, weapons, and ammunitions that are financed through illicit and illegitimate sources. Allowing them access to funds, finances, information, weapons, and technology enables them to carry out attacks with impunity. It is incumbent therefore to dismantle their support infrastructure.

India’s proposal on Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism (CCIT) will fill in the significant vacuum. United Nations’ counter-terrorism mechanism should be made efficient in listing terrorists and their outfits. Implementation of FATF standards, across all jurisdictions, will strengthen international efforts in addressing terrorism.

Prime Minister Modi has underlined the importance of reforming the global institutions and has called for “reformed multilateralism”. IBSA countries have been at the forefront on initiating reform of global institutions. However, above all these, the three countries need to ensure that their collective voice is heard clearly in BRICS and other groups on UN Security Council reforms.

India deeply appreciates African states’ desire to find collective solutions to conflicts and counter terrorist forces. India’s longstanding contribution to peacekeeping and as net security provider to global peace is well known.

India is willing to contribute more to Africa, both in security and development cooperation. New Delhi is deeply concerned with continuing tensions on the border between Gaza Strip and Israel. India firmly believes that the dialogue is the only viable option to effectively address the issues in that region.

India believes the world is ‘One Global Family’. IBSA members have in their respective heritage, concepts that convey this important message, like “ubuntu” in South Africa and “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” in India. IBSA countries could build on their commonalities for a better world.

Script: KAUSHIK ROY, AIR: News Analyst