The Foreign Secretary was participating in a debate over ‘Plurilateralism Inc: The Future of Global Governance’ at Raisina Dialogue

The key to fighting the common challenges facing the post-pandemic world is genuine solidarity and effective multilateralism and as such it is important to strengthen existing multilateral institutions to ensure that the benefits arising out of such collaborations are equitably shared, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said in his remarks at Raisina Dialogue 2021 on Wednesday.

He said today, India is part of multiple groupings, starting with the UN and its specialized agencies, extending to plurilateral constructs such as the BRICS, SCO and QUAD as well as smaller and more informal trilateral meetings such as RIC and JAI.

“This is in keeping with our belief in working in close cooperation with all concerned on our regional, multilateral and global responsibilities,” the Foreign Secretary said while participating in a debate over ‘Plurilateralism Inc: The Future of Global Governance.’

He said India has always believed in engaging with our external partners and interlocutors in the most effective and appropriate formats, be they bilateral, multilateral or plurilateral.

Nowhere has the need to consult, cooperate and coordinate with other states been felt as greatly as during the COVID-19 crisis, the Foreign Secretary said.

Foreign Secretary Shringla said Prime Minister Modi was one of the first to see the pressing need for regional and international cooperation to deal with the crisis.

Prime Minister Modi convened a regional meeting of SAARC HOS/G as early as March 2020 when the decision to move to lockdown was yet to be taken, he said.

“As will be recalled, this regional meeting was attended by all and resulted in the creation of the SAARC COVID Emergency Response Fund and extensive regional cooperation among health professionals, supply of Covid related health equipment,” he said.

PM Modi, the Foreign Secretary said, also proposed a G20 Summit to address the Covid pandemic. In his address, the PM noted that the G20, which was created in response to the financial and economic crisis, was meeting for the first time to deal with a humanitarian situation.

“The Summit took some far reaching measures designed to support developing countries in dealing with the unprecedented crisis on its hands, including through the Debt Service Suspension Initiative,” the Foreign Secretary said.