Written byShubhajit Roy
| Manila |Updated: November 15, 2017 5:15 am
Calling terrorism the major challenge facing the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged ASEAN member-countries to come together to address the menace.
“We have individually striven very hard to fight terrorism and violent extremism. It is time we jointly address this challenge by intensifying cooperation in this crucial area,” Modi said while addressing leaders at the 15th ASEAN-India Summit in Manila.
Modi also said that India will continue to lend its support to ASEAN to achieve a rules-based regional security architecture that best attests to the region’s interests and its peaceful development. By evening, the East Asia summit — comprising 10 ASEAN member-countries and another eight, including India, the US, Japan and China — issued two leaders’ declarations: on anti-money laundering and countering terror financing, and on countering ideological challenges of terrorism and terrorist narratives and propaganda.
Ministry of External Affairs’ Secretary (East) Preeti Saran, who was one of lead negotiators for the document from the Indian side, said, “These declarations are of special importance for India as we have been victims of terrorism.”
The leaders’ declaration made 11 points of recommendation. It said that they encourage all states to accede to and/or ratify and implement relevant international instruments on counter-terrorism, implement relevant UN Security Council resolutions on counter-terrorism and the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, support the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, and take note of the UN Secretary General Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism.
It also called for joining efforts to address conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and violent extremism in the region in accordance with international law and principles of UN Charter, including the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of all states, and taking into account the Declaration of the EAS on Principles for Mutually Beneficial Relations, including the principle of non-interference, and enhance cooperation to support initiatives and measures aimed at combating those conditions.
The declaration called for strengthening cooperation to promote the values of moderation and terrorist de-radicalisation initiatives, including through exchange of experiences and best practices.
It also called for strengthening cooperation to stop terror financing efforts, suppress flow of foreign terrorist fighters and prevent recruitment of members of terrorist groups.
Faced with the new challenges, it resolved to counter use of ICTs, in particular Internet and social media platforms, for terrorist purposes, and for spreading terrorist and violent extremist ideology and propaganda, radicalising to violence, recruiting to join terrorist organisations and inciting individuals to commit terrorist acts.
The leaders also decided to cooperate to counter terror ideology and propaganda, and promote positive messages.
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