India along with other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) nations have pledged to make concerted efforts to combat terrorism.
The meeting of defence chiefs of ASEAN nations was held in Philippines.
The defence ministers from the 10 ASEAN member states signed a joint declaration in which they reaffirmed their commitment to working together on countering all forms of terrorism and extremism in the region.
“With this, I am optimistic that we could broaden areas of cooperation to cover a wide array of defence and security issues, including terrorism and violent extremism, maritime security, cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and peacekeeping operations among others,” said Philippine Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana.
The meeting also passed a three-year action plan and decided to hold the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus annually, starting from next year.
The meet also emphasized commitment to fully implementing the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, reiterating the importance of expeditiously working towards an early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea.
They also expressed grave concerns over the escalation of tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and underscored the need to maintain peace and stability in the region as they expressed support toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner.
The ADMM is the highest defense consultative and cooperative mechanism in the ASEAN, which consists of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
India’s Nirmala Sitharaman also addressed the crucial meeting.
Speaking at the 4th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ meeting in the Philippines, Sitharaman said the global strategic and security situation was constantly evolving and had thrown up fresh and serious challenges.
“The defence and security scenario in our shared region has also witnessed significant changes recently. Our countries now need to simultaneously prepare for traditional (military) and non-traditional threats,” Sitharaman said.
Sitharaman called terrorism a “trans-national phenomena”, which needed strong collective action.
“New developments in social media and cyberspace have expanded the threat, as these are exploited by terrorists to develop less visible but lethal ways and means of manipulating minds of the people,” she said.
“India has taken resolute measures to fight the scourge of terrorism from across its borders. We fully recognise the role of joint mechanisms with our partners and the role of international and regional forums in fighting this menace,” she added.
India also called for peaceful resolution of maritime disputes in accordance with international law.
(With inputs from agencies)