At CICA meet, EAM S Jaishankar says terrorism 'gravest threat' in Asia, seeks support for India's proposal to combat threat

Dushanbe (Tajikistan): Terrorism poses the "gravest threat" to the people in Asia and terrorists and their victims must never be equated, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in Dushanbe on Saturday, as he sought support for India's proposal for a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism.

Addressing the fifth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit in the Tajikistan capital, Jaishankar said that the CICA members are the victims of terrorism.

"Terrorism is the gravest threat that we face in Asia today. Many CICA members are victims of terrorism and should be clear that terrorists and their victims must never be equated," he said.

"CICA has always shown a strong commitment to combat terrorism and extremism and adopt a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism. Early finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, proposed by India, is today even more essential and we seek your support on it," he said.

 At CICA meet, EAM S Jaishankar says terrorism gravest threat in Asia, seeks support for Indias proposal to combat threat

File image of S Jaishankar. PTI

Currently, the negotiations of the Comprehensive Terrorism Convention are deadlocked because of differences over the definition of terrorism.

Jaishankar's statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the SCO Summit in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, lashed out at countries "sponsoring, aiding and funding" terrorism and said that such states must be held accountable, in a veiled reference to Pakistan.

The CICA is a pan-Asia forum for enhancing cooperation and promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.

"India supports a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned," he said.

"All initiatives and processes must include all sections of Afghan society, including the legitimately elected government," he said.

The recent India-Central Asia 5 Ministerial dialogue is a very positive development that can only enhance further cooperations and stability across the regions, he said.

"Regional connectivity initiatives that are inclusive, sustainable, transparent and respect the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity can boost trade and play a pivotal role in bringing prosperity and development to the region. India for its part will always support such regional connectivity initiatives," the minister said.

The lack of energy security has emerged as another key developmental challenge, he said, adding that India has supported a better dialogue between consumers and producers for a stable energy market and for promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy.

"India's initiative of International Solar Alliance has received overwhelming support; 74 countries have signed the Framework Agreement. Developing renewable energy will be a great contribution to the security and stability of Asia and I invite CICA members who have not joined the Alliance to do so," Jaishankar said.

Sharing India's vision for a more secure and prosperous Asia as well as its concerns, Jaishankar said that the 21st century is being hailed as the Asian century and CICA can surely play a useful role in promoting peace, security and development in Asia.

"The India-Central Asia 5 dialogue format is big positive for cooperation and stability across regions. India's vision of the Indo-Pacific is rooted in advocacy of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region). It is in sync with the theme of this Summit 'Shared Vision for a Secure and More Prosperous CICA Region'," Jaishankar added.

"The world has been witnessing far-reaching geo-strategic changes, which have also impacted the peace and security in Asia," he said.

Globalisation is under stress due to new and emerging geo-political and geo-economic fault lines, Jaishankar said.

"India supports a rule-based order in Asia, as in the rest of the world. But we confront unavoidable challenges such as terrorism, conflicts, trans-national crimes and maritime threats.

"There are also issues of sustainable development including the lack of energy security, low intra-regional trade and deficit of connectivity. These must be urgently remedied for our common good," Jaishankar said.

India is confident that the CICA would continue to evolve into a balanced, open and inclusive framework for Asian countries to interact and cooperate in addressing multi-faceted challenges, acting in accordance with the common vision for a more secure and prosperous Asia, he added.

The new External Affairs Minister arrived in Dushanbe on Friday for the 5th CICA Summit. The theme of the summit is "Shared Vision for a Secure and More Prosperous CICA Region".

The Summit will adopt a declaration covering issues of cooperation within CICA.

During the Summit, the CICA leaders are likely to deliberate on the existing and emerging issues of common concern and underline implementation of confidence building measures for developing Asia into a prosperous, secure and peaceful region.

India is a member of the CICA since its inception and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had participated in the first CICA Summit held in 2002 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. India has been actively participating in various activities conducted under the aegis of CICA.

Ahead of the Summit, Jaishankar was welcomed by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon. "An important Central Asian partner. EAM @DrSJaishankar welcomed by President of Tajikistan @EmomaliRahmon at the start of the #CICA2019 summit. CICA leaders will discuss collective strategies to deal with challenges facing the Asian continent," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

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Updated Date: Jun 16, 2019 11:49:29 IST