‘International cooperation required to deny shelter to economic offenders’

Brussels [Belgium], Oct 20 (ANI): Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu called for international cooperation to deny shelter to economic offenders while addressing the plenary session of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit held in Brussels. In the summit, whose theme was "Global Partners for Global Challenges", Naidu expressed that India considered economic offences, tax crimes and criminal misappropriation of public assets as a significant threat to the integrity of financial systems. "We need to considerably strengthen international cooperation within G20 and other fora, to deny shelter to economic offenders. There is also an urgent need for enhancing mechanisms for Automatic Exchange of Information (AEOI) with committed timelines. ASEM can and should play an important role in this regard," he added. He further labelled terrorism as a "major threat to global peace and security", along with radicalisation and extremism, while adding, "India, as an affected party, urges the international community to work towards early adoption of the United Nations Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism which will, inter alia, deny terrorists and their supporters' access to arms, funds and safe havens." Naidu also highlighted India's efforts in environmental protection. Quoting the 'International Solar Alliance' launched jointly by India and France in 2015 as an "excellent" example of Asian and European cooperation, Naidu underscored that global cooperation is essential to addressing formidable environmental challenges. The Indian Vice President also called on ASEM partners to join the initiative on renewable energy, as he mentioned the United Nations Champion of the Earth award which has been given to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron for their efforts towards the environment. Naidu also urged developed nations to fulfill their obligations towards the provision of financial and technological support to prevent climate change. He further talked about elimination of poverty and said, "Elimination of poverty through the sustainable use of resources and improvement in livelihoods will be the biggest driver to prevent climate change." "Connecting nations, connecting the hearts and connecting minds and connecting economic development with environmental protection is at the heart of our shared commitment", said Naidu at the summit. He further highlighted India's dedication towards connectivity by outlining the nation's involvement in a "number of international connectivity projects". He mentioned connectivity projects such as the International North-South Corridor and the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway, both of which India is a part of. "Connectivity initiatives must meet universally recognised international norms such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity and should be transparent, fiscally and environmentally sustainable", Naidu added. The Indian Vice President reiterated Prime Minister Modi's words, which lay emphasis on the fact that India's development architecture is underpinned by 'Collective Efforts for Inclusive Development'. He further highlighted that India has listed women empowerment as a key development imperative. Expressing ASEM's importance for India at the event, Naidu said, "India values its participation in ASEM which acts as a bridge between the two continents and brings together countries with a deep commitment to the rules-based international system, in particular, strengthening WTO." "May our purpose be the same May we all come to a common understanding May our aspirations and intentions be similar May a common set of objectives unite us all," Naidu concluded with a line from the Rigveda. During the session, Naidu also highlighted that peace is a prerequisite for progress. "If there is tension at the border, there will be no attention in the nation. Let's work together to eliminate terror from the globe." The Indian Vice President arrived in Belgium on October 18 to participate in the 12th ASEM summit and also called on global dignitaries, including the Belgian King Philippe at the Royal City Palace here. (ANI)
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