State-sponsored terrorism is not just a “painful cancer” but is the leading reason for unsustainable security environment in the region, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday, hitting out at countries using terror groups to pursue political goals.
In an address at the 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), Rajnath Singh called for strong global action against terrorist safe havens and steps to choke funds to terror groups.
The ADMM-Plus is a platform comprising ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners including India. The grouping focuses its work on maritime security, counter-terrorism and humanitarian assistance.
“It is so much worse when terrorists are aided, abetted, armed, financed and sheltered by States. The interplay between states and non-state actors, used as proxies to foment violence, has worsened this menace.
“The persistence of state-sponsored terrorism is not just a painful cancer, it is also the leading reason for unsustainable security,” said Rajnath Singh in remarks seen as directed at Pakistan.
Rajnath Singh said terrorist safe havens will have to be eliminated and and their financing channels need to be choked to thwart their cross-border movement to ensure sustainable regional security.
He said some states are using terror to pursue political goals, making regional security vulnerable.
On the negotiations for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, Singh hoped that the outcome of these talks will be in sync with all relevant international laws, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Emphasising the need to protect the rights of states that are not party to these negotiations, he expressed hope that the situation will remain stable, without the use or threat of use of force or militarisation of the region.
China has increased its military assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea region.
On the Indo-Pacific, he said India’s vision for the region is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific.
He said India is for ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of everyone involved.
He added that sustainability implies prioritisation of peaceful resolution of disputes, avoidance of use or threat of use of force and adherence to international laws.
“Our region must remain open and welcoming to the interests of all, those who live in it and others whose interests are in it.
“In short, our approach to security in the Indo-Pacific is sustainable by definition because it emphasises Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR),” he said.
On the issue of denuclearisation of Korean peninsula, Singh said India looked forward to the progress made through dialogue in addressing all related issues, including the proliferation trail that links South and East Asia.
“As dialogue remains on the table, we hope missile launches and such destabilising activities will cease,” he said.
In the context of terrorism, Singh said security is only effective when it is sustainable, adding it will be sustainable only when the interests of all in the region are taken on board.
He stressed upon the need for a more cooperative, equitable and consultative paradigm to deal with broad and complex security challenges in the region.