NEW DELHI, Nov 23: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday called for urgent and resolute global efforts to counter transnational and cross-border terrorism as he termed it the “gravest threat” to regional and global security.
During his address at the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus in Siem Reap, Cambodia, he asserted that “indifference” can no longer be a response, as terrorism has found victims globally.
Singh also said that while terrorism continues to remain a big threat, other security concerns that have emerged in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be ignored, including challenges of energy and food security.
The ADMM Plus is an annual meeting of defence ministers of 10 ASEAN countries and its eight dialogue partner countries — India, the US, Russia, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea — the defence ministry said in a statement here.
The year 2022 also marks the 30th anniversary of India-ASEAN relations.
During his address to the ADMM Plus forum, Singh called for “urgent and resolute global efforts to counter transnational and cross-border terrorism”, while terming it “the gravest threat to regional and global security”.
India advocates a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region and calls for peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, he said.
In this context, the ongoing ASEAN-China negotiations on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea should be fully consistent with international law, in particular the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and should not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that are not party to these discussions, he was quoted as saying in the statement.
Singh pointed out that the global security environment has transformed fundamentally over the last few decades, with terrorist groups “creating interlinkages across continents backed by new-age technologies to propagate ideologies, transfer money and recruit supporters”.
“The United Nations Security Council Committee on Counter-terrorism met on 28 and 29 October 2022 in New Delhi and took serious note of these developments. The committee adopted the ‘Delhi Declaration’ to counter the use of new and emerging technologies for terrorist purposes,” he said.
Singh called upon all the member states to work together with a positive intent, towards a stable, safer and more secure world for our future generations.
He reiterated India’s commitment to nurturing practical, forward-looking and result-oriented cooperation between India and ADMM Plus countries for enhancing the maritime security in the region and safety of the global commons, the statement said.
In his address, he also said that as a responsible member of the international community, India has worked with its partners, in extending humanitarian aid, medicines, vaccines and foodgrains on large scale.
The defence minister’s office also posted a series of tweets and pictures from the ADMM Plus forum.
“We believe that regional security initiatives must be consultative and development oriented, to reflect the larger consensus,” it tweeted, quoting Singh.
He also said, “We are concerned about complicating actions and incidents that have eroded trust and confidence, and undermined peace and stability in the region.”
India stands for the freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, peaceful settlement of maritime disputes and adherence to international law, particularly, the UNCLOS 1982, Singh was quoted as saying in another tweet by the Defence Minister’s office.
Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee Air Marshal B R Krishna and other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of External Affairs accompanied the minister, the statement said.
“We are meeting at a time when the world is seeing increasing strife amplified by disruptive politics. A peaceful Indo-Pacific, with ASEAN at its centre, becomes vital more than ever for the security and prosperity of the world,” he was quoted as saying in another tweet.
“With participation from 10 countries of the ASEAN and 8 major PLUS countries, ADMM Plus can position itself not just as a forum for regional security but a driver for world peace. Together, we constitute half of the world’s population,” he added.
Singh arrived in Siem Reap on Monday to co-chair the India-ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting and attend the 9th ADMM Plus. (PTI)