Vientiane/New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) India on Monday called for constructing a strong international legal regime, based on the principle of zero tolerance, to fight the scourge of terrorism.
“Countering terrorism is an imperative in the face of rising terrorist attacks across the globe, including in our region, notably in Jakarta, Bangkok, Pathankot, Dhaka and Kabul in recent times,” Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said while addressing the 14th Asean-Indian Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Vientiane, Laos.
“It is vital to construct a strong international legal regime, built on the principle of ‘zero tolerance’ for direct or indirect support to terrorism, adopting an ‘extradite or prosecute’ standard, and ensuring obligatory collaboration by countries in the investigation of terrorism related cases,” Singh said.
“Deepening of security cooperation must be based on an outright rejection of state sponsored terrorism, isolating those who harbour, support or sponsor terrorists, and bringing the perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors to speedy justice.”
Stating that today’s realities warranted that nations act for urgent finalization of the India-initiated Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) at the UN, Singh sought the support of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) countries for this.
He said India would like to host an Asean -India Conference on preventing radicalisation and promoting deradicalisation, to share India’s experience and benefit from the experience of Asean countries, notably Malaysia.
“In the economic sphere, we are happy that the Asean-India Trade Negotiation Committee is working to review the Asean-India Trade in Goods Agreement in order to realise the full potential of the Asean-India Free Trade Area,” he said.
He said India remained committed in its support for implementation of the master plan on Asean connectivity as well as the post-2015 agenda for Asean connectivity.
“Even as we work assiduously to enhance our physical connectivity and explore the extension of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway into Laos PDR, Cambodia and Vietnam, I urge Thailand and Myanmar to join hands and find creative solutions for the early conclusion of the Motor Vehicles Agreement and I would also like to invite Asean countries to participate in the Sittwe (Myanmar) Economic Zone.,” Singh said.
He also stressed on digital connectivity and said India has shared with Asean proposals outlining an integrated approach involving setting up of a regional high-capacity fibre optic network, a national rural broadband network and digital villages in remote areas, which would digitally enmesh India and Asean.
Describing science and technology as a crucial element of the Asean-India partnership he said the Working Group and General Council meeting in Science and Technology would be held in New Delhi next month.
“It has cleared the platform for a new set of activities which would be undertaken utilising the Asean-India Science and Technology Development Fund, which has been enhanced from $1 million to $5 million,” Singh said.
He stated that India sought to pursue energy security, production and use of renewable and alternative energy sources with Asean member states, “including promoting private sector engagement in the development and utilisation of renewable and alternative energy sources through institutional capacity building.”
“In this regard, we will be training 100 Asean personnel in solar technology, wind energy and bio-energy at the earliest,” he said.
He also referred to the ruling by an international arbitration tribunal on the South China Sea dispute in favour of the Philippines over China and said India, as a State Party to the UN Convention on Law of the Seas (Unclos), wanted all parties to show utmost respect for Unclos.