India seeks global cooperation to defeat terrorism, piracy

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

HANOI - India Tuesday sought structured global cooperation to defeat the “serious challenge” of piracy and terrorism that has reached “transnational proportions”.

Addressing the first Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus eight (Asean+8) defence ministers meeting in this Vietnam capital, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony said his country was committed to fighting piracy.

“India is committed to working together with other countries in the efforts to address piracy… The security of sea lanes of communication is vital in today’s world.

“It is in the common interest of nations to keep sea lanes open, secure and free for navigation, trade and energy supplies,” he said.

The minister said the Indian Navy was actively engaged in anti-piracy patrolling in the Gulf of Aden for over two years now and empahisised that the security of sea lanes was “important for the Asia-Pacific region that is now one of the most important drivers of global economic growth”.

On the threat of global terrorism, Antony said the “growing role of non-state actors and cyber threats are markers in the evolution of the global security construct during the last decade or so”.

He said Asia was the “theatre for the unfolding of many of these developments”.

“Given the transnational nature of the challenges, it is important to develop synergy and build institutionalised cooperative arrangements,” he stressed.

Expressing India’s commitment to work with other powers of the region and the world to meet the challenges, he said: “Through the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) and the Malacca Straits mechanisms, we are partnering with other countries in the region to improve the safety of navigation in the region.”

The Asean+8 defence ministers’ meeting, which has no formal name yet, is the creation of the South East Asian forum that brings together all the 10 South East Asian countries and their key dialogue partners - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the US.

Antony also affirmed India’s “strong commitment” to the forum for “peace and stability” in the region.

Antony welcomed the joint declaration at the meeting that “provides a viable framework for a multilateral defence and security dialogue and cooperation in the region”.

He extended New Delhi’s support for the five priority areas identified for cooperation and the idea of having expert groups to develop cooperation in these areas.

Antony is accompanied by Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar on his visit to Vietnam.

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