Opening remarks by Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary, DARE and DG, ICAR and SOM Leader for the Prep SOM of 7th AIMMAF (25 October, 2022)

Opening remarks by Dr. Himanshu Pathak, Secretary, DARE and DG, ICAR and SOM Leader for the Prep SOM of 7th AIMMAF (25 October, 2022)

Indian Council of Agricultural Research

International Relations 

Opening Speech of Secretary, DARE & DG, ICAR at the 7th ASEAN-India SOM on 25 October, 2022

Excellencies and Ladies and gentlemen

  1. I welcome you in this Preparatory Senior Officers Meeting for the 7th ASEAN- India Meeting of Ministers of Agriculture & Agroforestry (AIMMAF). We know that India became a Sectoral Partner of the ASEAN in 1992. Since then, the India-ASEAN partnership has grown commensurate with the increase in collective capacities and growing economic integration.  Today there are 30 annual dialogue mechanisms including Summit level meeting between India and ASEAN. Cooperation in agriculture and forestry is one of the most important part of this collaborative agenda.

  2. During the 18th India-ASEAN Summit held on 28th October, 2021, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India highlighted the milestone of 30th Anniversary of India-ASEAN Partnership, and 2022 was announced as India-ASEAN Friendship Year. Hon’ble Prime Minister underlined the centrality of ASEAN in India's Act East Policy. Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and ASEAN leaders welcomed the adoption of the India-ASEAN Joint Statement on cooperation for peace and prosperity. The closer cross-sectoral collaboration with ASEAN bodies on rural development and poverty eradication, agriculture, social welfare and development and health, among others, to ensure sustainable and inclusive development in the region have been envisaged at various Summit Meetings.

  3. Agriculture and food security are the prime areas of focus of the Government of India. During last 75 years India has made great strides in the field of agriculture and allied sector. During the past decades, India experienced Green revolution and the White revolution which paved the way for self-sufficiency in food and milk production. Moving beyond mere self-sufficiency in food and milk, we have also done very well in horticulture, fisheries and pulse production, and are working towards improving post-harvest management and development of cold chain infrastructure.

  4. Agriculture is equally important for ASEAN. ASEAN and India face similar challenges such a climate change, shrinking land base, dwindling water resources, shortage of farm labour, and increasing costs and uncertainties associated with volatility in national and international markets. Diversification towards higher value crops and livestock would be the answer which will not only improve farm incomes but also to reduce stress on the scarce natural resources. Transboundary diseases also remain yet another important area of attention which requires urgent focus and collaborative efforts. This call for close cooperation between our countries to tackle them.

  5. The Medium-Term Plan of Action (POA) (2021-25) of ASEAN-India for strengthening cooperation in Agriculture and Agroforestry is already in operation which has four major action areas of promoting investment, capacity building, sharing of best practices, research and development, agricultural technology, management and innovation in the food agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors. 

  6. I am happy to note that the plan of action for 2021-2025 was adopted in the last meeting of ASEAN-India Agriculture Ministers. India has proposed projects related to fellowship for higher education in agriculture, exchange visits for farmers, climate-smart agriculture, application of robotics and drones in agriculture, post-harvest technology, transboundary diseases and plant health management. I am confident that these projects shall be finalised very soon and implemented. I seek active cooperation of ASEAN embassies based in New Delhi and our Resident Mission to ASEAN in Jakarta for operationalization of this collaborative agenda.

  7. I also seek your active cooperation for finalization of the project on soil health. Some of the unattended areas shall be discussed and finalized in due course.

  8. I conclude by saying that ASEAN-India relations should build upon collaborations in the emerging areas of food safety, food security, digital agriculture, biofortification, nature positive solutions, food processing, value chains, agricultural marketing and capacity building and take them to newer heights. Collectively we have done it in the past and shall achieve far greater heights in our relationship in future.

Thank you….


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