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India Hosts Inaugural UNCITRAL South Asia Conference

India recently played host to the inaugural United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) South Asia conference, held from September 14 to 16. This significant event was jointly organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, UNCITRAL, and the organization’s national coordination committee for India.

Distinguished Attendees

The conference saw the presence of notable dignitaries, including Minister of State for External Affairs, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, and Attorney General R Venkataramani, among others.

Continuation of a Historic Event

This three-day conference marked a continuation of a significant event held in New Delhi in 2016, which celebrated 50 years of UNCITRAL’s existence.

Enhancing Engagement with UNCITRAL

The primary goal of the conference was to foster closer ties between India and UNCITRAL while encouraging active interaction among UNCITRAL, the judiciary, the bureaucracy, academia, and the legal fraternity.

UNCITRAL: A Vital Legal Entity

UNCITRAL, described as “the principal legal entity within the United Nations system dedicated to international trade law,” has been instrumental in reforming and harmonizing international business rules worldwide for over half a century.

India’s Historical Relationship with UNCITRAL

Minister of State Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh emphasized India’s unique and enduring relationship with UNCITRAL, highlighting India’s membership since its inception as one of the first 29 member states.

The Regional Focus

Attorney General Venkataramani stressed the necessity of a Declaration on Global Investment Law, underlining the conference’s regional significance.

Comprehensive Agenda

The conference featured a comprehensive agenda, including sessions led by global and regional experts covering a wide range of topics such as:

  1. Digital Economy: Discussions on the impact of the digital economy on international trade.

  2. MSMEs and Access to Credit: Insights into how small and medium-sized enterprises can better access credit.
  3. Insolvency: Consideration of international insolvency regulations.
  4. Investor-State Dispute Settlement Reform: Deliberations on reforming dispute resolution mechanisms for investors.
  5. International Commercial Arbitration: Exploration of best practices in international commercial arbitration.
  6. Mediation: Discussions on the role of mediation in resolving international trade disputes.

Highlight: High-level Roundtable

A high-level roundtable addressed regional perspectives on UNCITRAL, shedding light on the significance of UNCITRAL’s work within the South Asian context.

Promoting India as an Arbitration Hub

An essential focus of the conference was to position India as a hub for international arbitration, recognizing the country’s potential in this field.

The Final Day: Alternative Dispute Resolution

The concluding day of the conference highlighted developments in alternative dispute resolution. A notable session featured judges from four high courts across India, discussing strategies to make India a prominent hub for arbitration.

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