India proposes to co-chair Expert Working Group on Counter-Terrorism

by IANS |

New Delhi, Nov 16 (IANS) Terming terrorism a "serious threat" to international peace and security, including in the ASEAN region, India on Thursday proposed to co-chair the Expert Working Group on counter-terrorism.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh made the proposal at the 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting - Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Jakarta, Indonesia.

According to a Ministry of Defence (MoD) statement, the proposal was endorsed by ADMM-Plus as terrorism remains a serious concern to countries in the region.

In his address, he affirmed the ASEAN centrality and appreciated its role in promoting dialogue and consensus in the region.

He also reiterated India's commitment to freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in the international waters in accordance with international laws, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982, official added.

The Defence Minister called for regional security initiatives that are consultative and development-oriented to reflect the larger consensus among various stakeholders.

He committed towards nurturing practical, forward-looking and result-oriented cooperation with ADMM-Plus for enhancing maritime security in the region.

MoD said that highlighting that the conflicts extract a terrible toll in terms of human lives lost and livelihoods destroyed, disturb the stability at regional as well as global level and have adverse implications for food security, energy security etc.

Minister Singh reiterated India's commitment to work with ASEAN and Plus countries to ensure peace, prosperity and security, which is an apt theme for this year's ADMM Plus.

He cited Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote on peace "There is no way to peace, peace is the only way”.

The Defence Minister stressed the role of dialogue and diplomacy to have enduring peace, and in ensuring global stability.

He reaffirmed India's message to the world at large, that "this is not an era of war", and spoke about the imperative to give up the "us versus them" mindset.

Rajnath Singh appreciated ASEAN Member states' enthusiastic participation in India-ASEAN activities, particularly the Initiative for Women in UN Peacekeeping Operations, and Initiative for Marine Plastic Pollution Response.

He also appreciated ASEAN Member States’ active participation in the maiden ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise held in May this year, as well as in the Expert Working Group (EWG) on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) activities, of which India and Indonesia are co-chairs in the current 2020-2023 cycle.

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