Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed deep concern over the rising “export of terror”, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, saying it is a common security threat to the region and there was need for a coordinated response from the ASEAN member-nations to combat the menace.
Modi, who was addressing the 14th ASEAN-India summit in Laos, noted that growing radicalism through the ideology of hatred and spread of extreme violence were the other security threats.
“Export of terror, growing radicalization 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.
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”. He asserted that those who sponsor the menace must be sanctioned and isolated, not rewarded.
On Thursday, he said, “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.”
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-radicalization and counter-terrorism,” he said.
”ASEAN is central to India’s Act East policy. Our engagement, driven by common priorities, is to bring 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 is committed to Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity,” he said.
Securing the seas was a shared responsibility. 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 said. 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. Engagement of India-ASEAN is of economic optimism. We continue to expand and deepen our economic engagements,” Modi said.
Laos Premier Thongloun Sisoulith complimented India’s Act East policy and its contribution to ASEAN, and hoped the summit will provide the future direction.