Expressing grave concern over the rising “export of terror”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, today said that it has become a common security threat to both India and ASEAN member nations.
Addressing the 14th ASEAN-India summit in Vientiane, PM Modi also expressed concern over growing radicalisation and spread of extreme violence and said that India looks forward to craft a fitting response to this challenge through coordination with ASEAN countries at multiple levels.
He also expressed the urgent need for cooperation between India and ASEAN nations in areas like cyber security, de-radicalisation and counterterrorism.
“Export of terror, growing radicalisation and spread of extreme violence are common security threats to our societies,” he said in his second attack on Pakistan in two days amid escalating war of words between New Delhi and Islamabad.
“The threat is local, regional, and transitional at the same time. Our partnership with ASEAN seeks to craft a response through coordination, cooperation at multiple levels,” Modi said.
He said that in the face of growing traditional and non traditional challenges, political cooperation was a key emerging in our relations.
“We are willing to take concrete steps to enhance cooperation in cyber security, de-radicalisation and counterterrorism,” he added.
On Monday, Modi made a sharp attack on Pakistan at the G20 summit, saying “one single nation” in South Asia is spreading “agents of terror” as he asserted that those who sponsor the menace must be sanctioned and isolated, not rewarded.
In his remarks today, the Prime Minister said that ASEAN is central to India’s Act East policy.
“Our engagement driven by common priorities bringing peace, stability and prosperity to the region,” he told the 10-member grouping attended by Heads of state.
He said enhancing connectivity was central to India’s partnership with ASEAN.
Seamless digital connectivity between India and Southeast Asia is a shared objective. India committed to Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity,” Modi said.
Securing seas was a shared responsibility, he said, adding that sea lanes are “life lines of global trade”.
India supports freedom of navigation based on United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he added.
He thanked the member countries for sharing their views on “nature, direction and priorities of our engagement”.
“All three pillars of our partnership – security, economic and socio-cultural have registered good progress,” he said, adding that engagement of India-ASEAN is of “economic optimism”.
“We continue to expand and deepen our economic engagements,” Modi said.
Laotian premier complimented India’s Act East policy and its contribution to ASEAN and hoped the summit will provide future direction.
Addressing the Summit for the third time, Modi said he was “delighted to renew close bonds of friendship” with ASEAN.
“India is willing to march with ASEAN to fulfil promise and potential of our strategic engagement,” said the Prime Minister, wearing crisp white churidar, kurta and jacket.
He invited ASEAN as the “Guest of Honour” for the International Buddhist Conclave in October.
On documenting civilisational ties, Modi proposed commissioning project for mapping Indian inscriptions along Mekong river.
India announced hosting Commemorative Summit on “Shared Values, Common Destiny” in 2017 and also offered to host India-ASEAN Youth Summit.
Noting that cooperation in science and technology was a crucial element of development engagement, Modi proposed to enhance the ASEAN-India Fund with an additional grant of USD 50 million.
He also proposed Joint Task Force on connectivity to work on extension of India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
Modi said India was committed to Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.
Noting that natural disasters were a common challenge and joint priority, he said India will host Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in November.
(With PTI inputs)