KATHMANDU: Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali addressed the ‘Fourth Indian Ocean Conference’ held in the Maldives on Tuesday under the theme of Securing the Indian Ocean Region: Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenges.
Addressing the conference, Minister Gyawali stated that Nepal was in favour of peace, security and abidance of international laws in relation to the use of seas. He stressed the need for an architecture based on inclusiveness, partnership and collaboration among all countries, utilisation of resources and sharing of the benefits by all states, including landlocked countries like Nepal.
He also expressed the view that since Nepal’s international trade passes through the Indian Ocean, Nepal is concerned about the various non-traditional security threats, such as piracy, illicit trafficking of drugs and weapons, human trafficking, and called for collective actions for addressing these threats in an effective manner.
According to a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Minister Gyawali stated that with a view to connecting Nepal’s mountains with the Indian Ocean, the Government of Nepal has laid emphasis on establishing seamless connectivity in air, roads and waterways, aiming at facilitating trade, transit and movement of people. He shared Nepal’s plan of developing inland waterways in its big rivers in cooperation with India and bringing into operation its own commercial ships in international waters.
He drew the attention of the conference to the grave threats posed by climate change to mountainous countries and island nations, mentioning that Nepal is bearing the brunt of adverse impacts of climate change without being the cause of it. In view of the ecological interdependence between the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean, he stressed the need for preserving the ecological balance in the Himalayas by addressing the adverse effects of climate change. He appealed for meaningful collaboration between mountainous, coastal and island nations to address the climate crisis. He also invited the dignitaries attending the conference to participate in the Sagarmatha Sambad in Nepal.
The conference was organised by India Foundation, the Government of the Maldives, Foreign Service Institute of the Maldives, and S Rajaratnam School of International Studies of Singapore. Heads of state and government, foreign ministers, other ministers, parliamentarians, ambassadors, experts, and scholars from 40 countries took part in the conference.
Nepal’s Foreign Minister also paid a courtesy call on the President of the Republic of the Maldives, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Tuesday afternoon. During the meeting, Gyawali discussed various matters of mutual interest, including taking bilateral relations to a new height, promotion of tourism in both countries, employment for Nepali nationals in the Maldives, common efforts for addressing the adverse impacts of climate change, and cooperation in regional and global forums for the common interest. The President of the Maldives asked Minister Gyawali to convey his regards and best wishes to the President of Nepal.
Later, in the evening, Minister Gyawali attended the dinner hosted by the President of the Maldives in honour of the visiting dignitaries. Earlier, in the afternoon, he attended lunch hosted by the Maldivian foreign minister.