India, along with 20 other countries sharing the strategically vital Indian Ocean pledged each other a support to counter terrorism and violent extremism. Taking up the issue in 20th Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) summit in Jakarta, all the 21 nations also agreed to share information and best practices in this endeavour.
Representing India at the summit, Vice President Md Hamid Ansari sought “zero-tolerance” towards state-sponsored terrorism and, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, asked them to isolate the backers of the menace.
Wrapping up his two-day visit to Indonesia, the Vice President also put forth India’s vision for a peaceful region and seas around it.
Themed ‘Strengthening maritime cooperation for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indian
Ocean”, the IORA summit adopted declaration on preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism.
IORA Concord was also signed where member states have denounced terrorism and agreed to share information and enhance cooperation to counter terrorism. The member nations called for collaboration to stop terror financing.
The member nations also agreed to encourage closer dialogue between civil society, institutions (religious, cultural and educational) for preventing terrorism and violent extremism.
On the issue of poverty, the declaration said, it’s determined to eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development through good governance, human rights and rule of law. Also, ensure respect for all religions in addressing the issue of terror.
Apart from this, the IORA Jakarta Concord also came up with an action plan to promote regional cooperation for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indian ocean.
The association comprises India, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
It also has seven Dialogue Partners – the US, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.
(With inputs from Aparna Parekh)