'One country in neighbourhood producing, exporting terror': At East Asia Summit in Laos, Modi fires salvo at Pakistan

Taking a strong stand on terrorism fuelled by India's neighbour Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is attending the 14th India-Asean Summit and the 11th East Asia Summit in Laos, on Thursday said that there is "one country" in the neighbourhood "whose competitive advantage rests solely in producing and exporting terrorism".

"This export is reducing space for peace and increasing space for violence, and, putting at risk peace and prosperity of all," he told the gathering that had US President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in attendance. According to CNN-News18, Modi is expected to discuss cross-border terrorism and proxy war fuelled by Pakistan at the summit.

"There's one country in our neighbourhood whose competitive advantage rests solely in producing and exporting terrorism," he said in his address at the East Asia Summit, without naming Pakistan.

"The time has come to isolate and sanction this instigator," Modi added.

The Prime Minister's fresh jibe directed at Pakistan came four days after he called on other Brics members to intensify joint efforts to combat terrorism and sought "coordinated actions" by the grouping to "isolate supporters and sponsors of terror".

"The time has come for us to stop this global exporter of terror," Modi said at the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS).

"We need to target not only the terrorists but also their entire supporting ecosystem. "And our strongest action should be reserved for those state actors who employ terrorism as an instrument of State policy," he added.

Wearing a crisp white churidar, kurta and jacket, Modi warned that terrorism is the most serious challenge to open and pluralistic societies and underlined that combating the menace requires collective effort.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the 11th East Asia Summit in Laos. AFP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the 11th East Asia Summit in Laos. AFP

He said India and most countries in South Asia were pursuing a peaceful path to economic prosperity, but singled out "one" neighbouring country. "Competing geo-politics, traditional and non-traditional challenges threaten peace, stability and prosperity of region," he said at the Summit, which he was attending for the third time.

He expressed hope that Asean will continue to lead and remain central to efforts aimed at greater regional integration and cooperation. "Remain committed, including through membership of export control regimes and to pursuing total and verifiable elimination of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

He added the EAS is adopting statement on non proliferation and that India remains committed to strengthening its objectives.

"This underlines commonalities in approaches," Modi said.

He also said India is committed to supporting realisation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). India can also play an important role in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation for deepening ongoing economic integration in the region.

He said he was "happy to convey that Nalanda University has been inscribed as Unesco World Heritage site in July 2016".

India will remain steadfast in shared pursuit of regional, strategic political and economic priorities within EAS framework, he said.

Modi on Thursday expressed deep concern at the rising "export of terror", in an apparent reference to Pakistan, saying it is a common security threat to the region as he sought a coordinated response from Asean member nations to combat the menace. While addressing the 14th India-Asean Summit in Laos, the prime minister also noted that growing radicalism through the ideology of hatred and spread of extreme violence are the other security threats.

"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 has emerged as key in 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 on Thursday, 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.

Obama-Modi meet: Eighth time in two years

Modi and US President Barack Obama met on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit on Thursday. This is the eighth time in two years that the two leaders have met. They met for the first time at the White House in September 2014 when Modi travelled to Washington DC at the invitation of Obama.

They are expected to make brief statements before the meeting begins. Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with Modi on Thursday, the White House had said on Wednesday.

US President Barack Obama toasts with PM Narendra Modi at the gala dinner during the second day of the Asean Summit in Vientiane on Wednesday. AFP

US President Barack Obama toasts with PM Narendra Modi at the gala dinner during the second day of the Asean Summit in Vientiane on Wednesday. AFP

"In the afternoon, the president will hold a bilateral meeting with (Modi)," the White House said in its daily guidance released to the press. Obama praised the prime minister's achievement in clearing the landmark tax reform of "GST" — a national sales tax which unifies India into one market and does away with a jumble of complicated national and state tariffs. Modi-Obama meet comes in the backdrop of Washington's emphatic support to New Delhi in its demand that Pakistan should identify and punish the perpetrators of Mumbai terror attacks in 2008 and the Pathankot attack in 2016.

'Seamless digital connectivity'

Modi 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 Thongloun Sisoulith 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. He invited Asean as the "Guest of Honour" for the International Buddhist Conclave to be held in India in October.

The prime minister was addressing the 18-member exclusive East Asia Summit here. Besides founding member India, EAS includes the ten members from Asean and Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea and the US.

The EAS, held annually by leaders of, initially, 16 countries in the East Asian, Southeast Asian and South Asian regions, had its membership expanded to 18 nations including the US and Russia at the Sixth EAS in 2011.

EAS is held after annual Asean leaders' meetings. The first summit was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 14 December, 2005.

With input from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 08, 2016 15:35 PM

Also See