Terror foremost challenge for Asean countries: Parrikar

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New Delhi, Oct 6 (IANS) Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday called terrorism the “foremost challenge” for the south-east Asian countries, adding that there is a need to delegitimise it as an instrument of state policy.

Parrikar said: “Terrorism remains foremost challenge to our (Asean) region. We need to oppose terrorism resolutely everywhere, delegitimise it as an instrument of state policy, and cooperate unreservedly to locate and destroy terrorist networks.”

He was speaking at the 20th Asean Regional Forum Heads of Defence Universities meet here.

“The security frameworks in our (Asean) region still does not give enough attention to terrorism. This must change,” he said according to an official statement.

The comments came amid continued tension along the India-Pakistan border following the attack on an Indian Army camp at Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, which left 19 soldiers dead.

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A surgical strike was conducted by the Indian Army in the night between September 28 and 29 on terror launch pads across the Line of Control in Pakistan-administered Kashmir that further escalated the tension.

A camp of 30 Rashtriya Rifles was attacked by militants on Thursday in Kashmir’s Kupwara district. In the gun battle, three terrorists were killed by the army.

Parrikar also referred to the maritime domain as a key enabler of prosperity that faces a wide spectrum of threats and reiterated India’s support for freedom of navigation, over-flights and unimpeded lawful commerce, based on the principle of international law as reflected notably in the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The three-day meet is being attended by representatives of 23 member nations and organisations including China, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Russia, EU and Asean Secretariat. India last hosted the meet in October 2003 in New Delhi.

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The main theme of discussion at the meet will be ‘Transformation of military education to meet the challenges of 21st Century’.



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