India, UAE and France hold first trilateral ministerial meeting in U.S.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar arrived in New York on Sunday to participate in the high-level 77th session of the U.N. General Assembly

September 20, 2022 10:45 am | Updated 12:22 pm IST - New York:

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna (R) shakes hands with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) and Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar (C) during a trilateral ministerial meeting in New York on September 19, 2022, on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna (R) shakes hands with United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (L) and Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar (C) during a trilateral ministerial meeting in New York on September 19, 2022, on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly. | Photo Credit: AFP

India, the UAE and France have held their first trilateral ministerial meeting here on the sidelines of a U.N. General Assembly session and discussed a new and more contemporary way of doing diplomacy with a focus on “active exchange” of ideas between strategic partners and UNSC members.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar arrived in New York on Sunday to participate in the high-level 77th session of the U.N. General Assembly, which kick-starts September 20 with the opening of the General Debate.

“A productive first trilateral Ministerial meeting of India-UAE-France. Active exchange of ideas between strategic partners and UNSC members,” Mr. Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting, hosted by the UAE on Monday, with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna.

Mr. Jaishankar began his hectic diplomatic week with a series of bilateral and multilateral engagements on the sidelines of the high-level session.

This was the first ministerial-level meeting of the India, the UAE and France trilateral.

The three countries, while different, are strategic partners to one another and discussions focussed on areas of commonalities and on working out how to specify and concretise these commonalities going forward, official sources said.

They said the three countries are very comfortable with each other and there are many areas where potentially they could be working in a more coordinated way.

Such plurilateral meetings signify a new and more contemporary way of doing diplomacy, they said, citing the example of Quad (Australia, India, Japan, the US), I2U2 (India, Israel, the United Arab Emirates and the United States), trilateral between India, France and Australia as forums emerging as effective ways of finding a common agenda.

They added that typically, groupings were regional and contiguous in nature such as SAARC, BIMSTEC, ASEAN, and the EU with the exception of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

The official sources added that diplomacy is now changing and there are countries which are not neighbours or next to each other in a region but which have certain common interests and are working with each other.

Following his bilateral meeting with the UAE Foreign Minister, Mr. Jaishankar tweeted: “Reviewed the continuing progress of our partnership. Appreciated his assessments and insights on the global situation.” Official sources said that for India, things are moving very well on multiple fronts with the UAE, against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Gulf country in June this year and Mr. Jaishankar’s visit two weeks ago for the 14th India-UAE Joint Commission Meeting.

Mr. Jaishankar also met with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry during a meeting on the sidelines of high-level UN General Assembly session in New York on September 19, 2022

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry during a meeting on the sidelines of high-level UN General Assembly session in New York on September 19, 2022 | Photo Credit: PTI

“Our bilateral ties are growing strongly in the areas of defence, trade and investments. Cooperation in new initiatives like green hydrogen & ammonia and education sectors will further bolster them. Discussed our close cooperation at the UN and NAM. Recognised the value Egypt’s participation in G20 will bring next year,” he tweeted.

Official sources said that the meeting with the Egyptian leadership was important, asserting that Egypt is absolutely on the same page as India when it comes to issues such as refocusing the world on development concerns, Global South.

Describing the relationship as a big meeting of the minds, sources added that India’s economic relationship with Egypt is doing well, trade is at an all-time high and there are very strong investment interests.

Egypt is also chairing COP27 and they are big players in areas of renewables, especially green hydrogen and ammonia.

During a “useful exchange of views” with Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, Jaishankar said he was looking forward to “working together in the G-77 and other multilateral formats.” “Spoke about rice supplies and development projects. Welcomed his appreciation of the Panchakarma Centre in Havana,” he said.

India has given Cuba a 100-million-euro line of credit for buying rice. Cuba is also expected to take over as the Chair of G77, the global south grouping which permeates through the U.N. processes.

In his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, Mr. Jaishankar appreciated his briefing on the latest developments in the African country.

“Discussed greater cooperation in education and trade,” he said.

In his meeting with Olta Xhaçka, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, Jaishankar said: “Valued our close cooperation in the UN Security Council. Discussed strengthening our bilateral relationship. Exchanged views on Ukraine and energy security.” Sources said that India and Albania working together in the UN Security Council has been a good experience and the two sides want to see whether they can build on the Security Council experience and take it into the bilateral relationship.

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