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India to Work With Other Countries on Energy, Food Security: S Jaishankar

Panama City: Energy and food security are perhaps the two most immediate global challenges that the South faces, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said, asserting that India will work together with other countries to address these problems.

Mr Jaishankar, who arrived in Panama from Guyana on Monday, participated in the 4th India-SICA Ministerial meeting on Tuesday. The Central American Integration System (SICA) is an economic and political organisation of Central American countries.

In his opening remarks at the meeting, Mr Jaishankar thanked SICA for forging a strong relationship and supporting India at various international and multilateral forums.

“Energy and food security are perhaps the two most immediate global challenges that the South faces. But again there are the longer term trends, the priorities which will go beyond food and energy security including those of development, of growth, of trade, of investment, of employment, of poverty deduction,” he said.

“I can assure you that India will be doing more, India is doing more and we would like to see that translated particularly into our particular relationships,” he said.

Mr Jaishankar said India also believes that a substantial expansion of global production of millets has the potential to address food security on a lasting basis.

“Not just food security but also nutritional security because it is a good source of iron, vitamins and micronutrients.

“Millets have been part of our tradition for many centuries and certainly the world would be better served if we were to revive that,” he said.

He said a new India that is a digital deliverer, an enthusiast of startups, a pharmacy of the world, a growing manufacturing power, a climate leader and a science and technology partner, seeks to partner with SICA.

Mr Jaishankar also said 2023 will be a “very special year” for India for its G20 presidency.

“It is also a year of exceptional responsibility because we take up this responsibility at a time when East-West polarisation is very strong and North-South divides are getting deeper,” he said in a statement.

“Our motto for the G20 is ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ and the same spirit we bring to the SICA deliberations,” he added.

He said India will work together on addressing energy and food security, climate change, debt and globalisation challenges.

“India will be a ready partner in green, digital, health and gender domains,” he tweeted.

“As developing nations, we must stand together on issues of development & growth. PM @narendramodi’s Voice of Global South Summit initiative furthered this spirit as India chairs the G20,” he said.

After his Panama visit, Mr Jaishankar landed in Colombia on Wednesday, where he would be meeting several top leaders of the country and reviewing bilateral ties with his Colombian counterpart Alvaro Leyva Duran.

He started his visit to Colombia by meeting the Indian community in the capital Bogota.

“Shared with them the transformation underway in India and its global implications. Underlined how the world is recognising the capabilities and contributions of a New India,” he tweeted.

“India’s image in foreign countries is significantly shaped by the community. I will be engaging my Colombian counterparts tomorrow, appreciating how much they have strengthened our standing,” he added.

On Monday, Mr Jaishankar joined President of Guyana Irfaan Ali at the commissioning of an India-made ferry which would enhance connectivity and provide mobility and economic opportunities in the country’s distant hinterlands.

Mr Jaishankar is on a nine-day trip to Guyana, Panama, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, his first visit as the external affairs minister to these Latin American countries and the Caribbean.