Address by Minister of State for External Affairs, Smt. Meenakashi Lekhi at the Raisina Dialogue 2023

Posted on: March 04, 2023 | Back | Print

Good Morning

Dignitaries and Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the members of the delegations who have come to India. It is a great pleasure to be present here at the 8th edition of the Raisina Dialogue 2023.

We meet here today when the world has seen a 180-degree alteration in the last three years with the backdrop of a post pandemic slump, intolerance and conflicts marring the geopolitical arena. As we meet at a time of deep global divisions now more than ever there is the need for dialogue and mutual cooperation.

It is safe to say that the world is seeing a new global order and requires new leadership and ideas to take forward the cause of the entire humanity. As we face a tempest that has been never been seen in the history of humanity it is natural that we focus on solutions and remain as steady as a lighthouse.


As a civilisation that has flowered over millennia through a syncretic process of give and take through the exchange of ideas, trade and cultural contacts, India has long advocated the importance of global peace and development. India is the land of Lord Buddha and Mahavira who have espoused the thought of focussing upon what unites us all instead of what divides us.
The current tempest that has grappled the world is an apt time to revisit the teachings of Lord Buddha, which will prove to be a guiding light for the world that is looking for peace, harmony and sustainability.

India’s foreign policy guided by our civilisational ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam has always seen the whole world as one family and this thought continues to guide us in a multipolar world. India is the land which believes in 'Ekatm Manavdarshan' i.e. Integral Humanism. That is, the co-journey of development and expansion from self to collective. Expansion of the self, moving from individual to the society, the nation and entire humanity and this contemplation is dedicated to Antyodaya. Antyodaya is called where no one is left behind, in today's definition.

Our civilisational ethos find resonance in our actions as we continue to take forward the cause of the developing world. India today is moving ahead on the path of Integrated, Equitable Development. Development must be all-inclusive, all-touching, all-pervading, all-alible and this is our priority. This "Development for All” agenda found a voice when Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji launch the Voice of the Global South Summit.

For decades, the world spoke about the development of the Global South. A term loosely used by many but hardly worked towards. Global South is where three fourths of the humanity lives, but the term has been used more like a metaphor for underdevelopment. It refers to an entire history of colonialism, neo-imperialism, and differential economic and social change through which large inequalities in living standards, life expectancy, and access to resources are maintained.

For the first time in the modern history, we saw the leaders of the Global South come together from different parts of the world to join our PM in solidarity towards determining a common future and shaping a new world order.


I would also like to remind you that during the pandemic, when nations across the world became inward-looking, India provided COVID-19 related medical equipment and vaccines at a particularly difficult time to more than 100 countries, especially in the Global South.

With development projects in 78 countries, India has remained a steady partner for shared development while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.

During the Summit, Prime Minister Modi called on the leaders of these nations to re-energise the world by voicing for a global agenda of 4Rs- that are Respond, Recognize, Respect and Reform. A need of the hour, these 4Rs will help the Global South to chart their own path in a world of uncertainty and conflict and will ensure an equitable and democratic world that can in turn lead to the collective well-being of the mankind. It is pertinent for our nations to come together respond to the priorities of the Global South and recognise the principle of ‘Common but Differentiated Responsibilities’ and thereby reform the international institutions including the United Nations.


We have seen global supply chains break down during times of stress. We have seen stable economies suddenly overwhelmed by debt and financial crisis. These experiences clearly show the need for resilience in our societies, in our economies, in our healthcare systems, and in our infrastructure. The G20 has a critical role to play in finding the right balance between growth and efficiency on one hand and resilience on the other. We can reach this balance more easily by working together.

In this light, India’s G20 Presidency is of great significance. The G20 is a forum of the world’s largest economies comprising industrialized countries and emerging markets that together account for 85 percent of global GDP, 75 percent of global trade, and 60 percent of the world’s population. The sheer weight of its collective membership can definitely steer the modern world forward. The G20 can once again inspire confidence. The forum can again seize the opportunity of a high-level platform in this time of polycrisis to have a frank dialogue on the need to prevent greater uncertainty in the multilateral trading system, to rationalise trade behaviour that avoids negative-sum outcomes, and to introduce measures that reduce risk in the system.

India’s theme of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam- One Earth, One Family, One Future for its G20 Presidency, signals the need for unity of purpose and unity of action. It reflects our commitment to be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, and decisive for the welfare of the humanity.

As leaders of the world, we have the opportunity as well as responsibility to work for those who are not in this room. The world looks upon the G20 to ease the challenges of growth, development, economic resilience, disaster resilience, financial stability, transnational crime, corruption, terrorism, and food and energy security. In all these areas, the G20 has capacity to build consensus and deliver concrete results. We must work together to achieve these goals.


India plays a pivotal role in the globalized world. A key pillar of India’s camaraderie with the great powers is our engagement with the world in the Indo-Pacific. Our oceans are also our common heritage and it is believed that the century is going to be shaped by what happens in the Indo- Pacific. Economically, the Indo-Pacific is a centre of global trade and commerce, and therefore a potential area of economic prosperity for the countries in the region. The region dominates 50 percent of the world’s maritime trade.

Additionally, the current maritime landscape privileges cooperation rather than contestation, for mutually beneficial gains. As the word itself suggests INDO- Pacific, India shall continue to play a crucial role in this domain and shape the geopolitics of the region along with the support of our partners.

As rightly quoted by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi Ji - "When the oceans are open, the seas are secure, countries are connected, the rule of law prevails and the region is stable, nations, small and large, prosper as sovereign countries.”

We are committed to build a "free, open and inclusive” Indo-Pacific as part of our endeavour to achieve the "common pursuit of progress and prosperity” of all stakeholders in the region and beyond.


In the 21st century, threats to global order exist not just in the open but in the shadows through cyberattacks, biowarfare, supply chain disruptions and the shortage of critical minerals. It is imperative for us to foster cooperation between all stakeholders in respect of these shared threats to reassess and rebuild trust among all nations.

In a dynamic world laden with unforeseen crises, cooperative strategies can facilitate mitigation of trade disruptions while aiding global collective action and response. During the pandemic we saw the importance of diversifying supply chains and building resilient and reliable global supply chains to resist disruption. An appetite for international trade remains. The nature of trade is evolving towards high-tech goods, services and digitalisation so we must create a conducive cross-border ecosystem for the same.

Our Atmanirbhar Bharat (Self-reliant India) campaign is inspired by this spirit. India is becoming a democratic and trustworthy partner of the world for Global Industrial Diversification. For this, India presents itself to the world as a reliable supply chain partner.


The tempests of the 21st century that are upon us are very different from the ones of previous centuries. We are battling climate change, technological disruptions, and growing economic inequality, amongst others. These challenges require radical collaboration to spur innovative thinking and creativity.

As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, the key role of digital applications has really come to the fore. But digitalisation also brings certain challenges, not least the vulnerability of our data in an information society. The frequency and scope of cyberattacks, cybercrime and political manipulation in the digital space are growing all the time, as are dependencies and vulnerabilities.

Mankind is entering a new digital era. We are the witnesses of new frontiers, which go beyond the traditional understanding of the human activity. In this light, it is important that we develop global standards on cyber security.


In the 75th year of Independence, India achieved some major milestones, the most important being India becoming the fifth largest economy of the world. In addition to this major milestone India also emerged as the world’s fastest growing major economy in the post pandemic world - along with one of the fastest expanding and vibrant Technology, Start Up & innovation ecosystems.

India is building the world’s most extensive digital public information infrastructure. Over 1.3 billion Indians have a unique digital identity. We have built the most efficient payment infrastructure that is the UPI. It was a watershed moment in India’s digital journey when Unified payments Interface (UPI) breached the 1 trillion dollar mark in transaction values last year.

India is internationalizing its most significant contribution to the Digital world—the India Stack Global that has been initiated to showcase the India Stack and its building blocks globally. I urge you all to form digital partnerships with India so that we call can take the benefits of development and efficiency to the grassroots.


Today, the danger of Regressive Thinking and Extremism is increasing in front of the world. The time has come for all those who believe in humanity to join hands to completely eradicate terrorist networks and their financing, supply channels, and to counter terrorist ideology and propaganda. Only by doing so can we replace hate with harmony; destruction with development.

Under these circumstances, the whole world has to make Science-Based, Rational and Progressive Thinking on the basis of development. More than ever before we need partnerships, alliances and coalitions of countries willing to put their efforts, their resources, their minds in tackling problems of climate change and other pertinent issues of the modern world.


Our development initiatives do not run in silos. We believe in working towards economic development through sustainable development. India has established a better balance in both economy and ecology. It is for the world to see that India is moving very fast towards the target of 450 GW of renewable energy. We are also in the campaign to make India the world's largest Green Hydrogen Hub. Our humble initiative of International Solar Alliance which was launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi presents itself as a bridge between the developed and the developing nations. ISA is India’s gift to the world in the battle against Climate Change.

Another key aspect of our commitment towards Climate Action is the Mission LiFE that was launched by PM Modi to bring individual behaviours at the forefront of the global climate action narrative.

Mission LiFE envisions replacing the prevalent 'use-and-dispose' economy—governed by mindless and destructive consumption—with a circular economy, which would be defined by mindful and deliberate utilization. The Mission intends to nudge individuals to undertake simple acts in their daily lives that can contribute significantly to climate change when embraced across the world.. The Mission plans to create and nurture a global network of individuals, namely ‘Pro-Planet People’ (P3), who will have a shared commitment to adopt and promote environmentally friendly lifestyles. Through the P3 community, the Mission seeks to create an ecosystem that will reinforce and enable environmentally friendly behaviours to be self-sustainable.


It is of utmost importance that we shape the New World on the pillars of multilateralism, freedom independence, security and prosperity, the alleviation of need and poverty in the world, sustainable development, equal opportunities, human rights, democracy and commitment to a peaceful and just international order. At the same time, in order to strengthen the rule-based world order, the international community must speak in unison. Additionally, it is essential that we constantly strengthen the UN for the protection of Global Order, Global Laws and Global Values.

In the years to come, India will remain committed to strengthening respect for shared values of multilateralism, rules-based international order, international law and sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations.

I would like to conclude with a prayer from the Rig Veda recently emphasized by the Honorable Prime Minister of India:

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which means Let us come together, speak together, and may our minds be in harmony.

I am confident that all of us will strive to enhance peace and harmony, make the world healthy, safe and prosperous.

Thank you.

Jai Hind.