New Delhi - Ahead of this year's Delhi Dialogue, the premier annual track 1.5 event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between India and the Asean bloc, India on Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to promote the blue economy.
"Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)-India cooperation in the field of blue economy has tremendous scope," Preeti Saran, Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry, said while addressing the second Asean-India Blue Economy Workshop here.
"Through the efficient harnessing of blue resources, including through use of new and emerging technologies, the issues of poverty, food insecurity, unemployment and ecological imbalance can be effectively tackled.
"Research and innovations in marine biotechnology, higher access to seabed resources, investment in marine ICT and proper integration of coastal tourism and other services can play a crucial role in injecting stimulus to create additional economic activities for both Asean and India," she added.
With India increasing its engagements with Southeast Asia under New Delhi's Act East Policy, maritime cooperation has emerged as a key area of engagement with Asean, which comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Stating that the oceans hold the key to the fortunes of the fast-evolving global order, Saran said that covering 72% of the earth's surface and constituting over 95% of the biosphere, oceans provide a substantial portion of the world's population with food and livelihood.
"Eighty per cent of the global goods trade travels via sea, and the marine and coastal environment is a big tourist attraction as well.
"The seabed currently provides 32% of the global supply of hydrocarbons, and oceans hold massive potential for production of renewable energy.
"Emerging technologies are opening up new frontiers of marine resource development, leading, among other things, to the mining of seabed mineral resources," she said.
In this connection, Saran referred to Prime Minister Narenda Modi highlighting the importance New Delhi attached to the subject of Asean-India cooperation in the maritime domain "since we believe that it will be a key facilitator for growth and development of the Indo-Pacific region".
"Asean and India are maritime neighbours," she said.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will host the 10th edition of the Delhi Dialogue (DD X) here on July 19-20, with the theme of this year's event is "Strengthening India-Asean Maritime Cooperation".
This is the first major event to be organized after the Asean-India Commemorative Summit, that was held in New Delhi in January this year.
According to the External Affairs Ministry, among those who will be attending the Dialogue will be Brunei Communications Minister Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohammad, Indonesian Vice Foreign Affairs Minister A.M. Fachir, Lao Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongphane Savanphet, Myanmarese International Cooperation Minister Kyaw Tin, Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, Special Envoy of Thailand's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Advisor Chaisiri Anamarn, Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dzung and Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs of the Asean Secretariat Hoang Ahn Tuan.
With the government labeling the Northeast as India's gateway to Southeast Asia, the Chief Ministers of all eight northeastern states - Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura - will also be present.
This year's Delhi Dialogue will comprise six plenary and four parallel sessions, with each session followed by open discussions.