India seeks Asean’s cooperation in fighting terrorism

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) India on Monday sought the cooperation of the member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in the global fight against terrorism.

“The dialogue and cooperation among Asia-Pacific states, both bilaterally and in multilateral forums has intensified,” Preeti Saran, secretary (east) in the ministry of external affairs, said in her opening remarks at the Asean Regional Forum (ARF) Inter-Sessional Support Group Meeting on Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and Preventive Diplomacy (PD) here.

“At the same time, global security faces several challenges — terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), territorial and maritime disputes, cyber crimes and piracy, food and energy insecurity, environmental degradation and humanitarian disasters,” Saran said.

“Of all these challenges, terrorism is of foremost public concern.”

Saran referred to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks that while the reach and supply chains of terrorism were global, genuine cooperation among nation states was not.

“ARF was one of the earliest forums to focus on counter-terrorism and transnational crime,” she said.

“At the Inter-Sessional Support Group (ISG), we will review the ARF ISM (inter-sessional meeting) on counter-terrorism and transnational crime (CTTC), and also the ARF workshop to preventing violent extremism,” she added.

The secretary (east) also said that the world today was witness to a mixed picture on disarmament and non-proliferation.

“The Iranian nuclear issue has been resolved peacefully,” she said.

“The global, verifiable and non-discriminatory regime embodied in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) has risen to the challenge of CW use in Syria.”

At the same time, Saran said, Myanmar’s ratification of the CWC “has brought us closer to universality”.

“The Eighth Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) is an opportunity to strengthen further the norm against biological weapons,” she stated, but added that the prognosis for nuclear disarmament was challenging and recent nuclear and missile tests in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions have complicated non-proliferation efforts.

Saran also said that another contemporary challenge was maintaining freedom of navigation and overflight and fostering full respect for international law on the maritime commons, which were vital to the region’s continued prosperity and stability.

“We call on all parties to avoid threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through all peaceful means, in keeping with international laws,” Saran said.

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