India has called for intensifying regional cooperation in East Asia to jointly combat terrorism “with one yardstick” and to ensure that terrorists don’t get any sanctuary and support. “We must address this [terrorism] scourge resolutely and with one yardstick. Our commitments must be translated into concrete action against individuals and groups involved in terrorist acts. Terrorists should not find sanctuary and support in any ARF member state,” said India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Speaking at the 21st ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw on August 10, Swaraj voiced India’s concerns about ongoing transition in Afghanistan and urged all ARF member states to aid the war-weary country in its relentless struggle against terrorism.
“At this time of a delicate transition, the international community must support Afghanistan to preserve the progress it has made in the last decade against terrorism and related threats to its national wellbeing. India remains committed to assisting Afghanistan in building its capacity for democratic governance, security and economic development,” said Swaraj.
In a speech that touched on international issues of urgency, Swaraj spoke of India’s unease about the deteriorating political situation in West Asia, and underlined that the only viable option was a “negotiated solution to the recent outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestine.” India also expressed it’s concerns about the emergence of Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSC) and Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP) in the region. Swaraj maintained there is a need to address the possible security implication of the increased use of PCASP by merchant vessels. Piracy has been a growing concern for vessels that travel through South and Southeast Asia. A report by global issuance firm Allianz states that in 2013 South Asia witnessed 26 incidents of piracy while Southeast Asia saw 128, which surpasses the 89 incidents in Africa. The increase in piracy has resulted in a boom of private security firms providing armed services to merchant ships. Also on August 10, Swaraj addressed the 4th EAS Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, where she highlighted the importance of cooperation in tackling non-traditional security threats, and the measures taken by India to address these issues
“Non-traditional security threats such as international terrorism, piracy, transnational crimes, drug-trafficking, maritime security and proliferation of sensitive items require a more comprehensive response from the international community. We are seeing different theatres getting interconnected through terror networks and a globalization of supply chains of ideology, radicalization, recruitment, training and financing of terrorism.”
Besides taking a strong stance against the nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the minister also spoke against the use of force or the threat to use force in solving maritime disputes in the region.
Territorial disputes in the South China Sea have dominated the EAS and ARF meeting in Nay Pyi Taw. The Unites States and China have also been embroiled in a spat over the code of conduct for managing maritime disputes in the South China Sea.
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