Asian people face the ' gross threat ' of terrorism: CICA EAM Jaishankar

Terrorism poses the "gravest threat" to the people in Asia and terrorists and their victims must never be equated, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said here on Saturday. Addressing the fifth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit in the Tajik capital, Jaishankar said that the CICA members are the victims of terrorism. "Terrorism is the gravest threat we face in Asia. CICA members are its victims and so it should be clear that terrorists and their victims must never be equated," he tweeted.

His statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the SCO Summit in Bishkek, capital of Kyrgyzstan, lashed out at countries "sponsoring, aiding and funding" terrorism and said that such states must be held accountable, in a veiled reference to Pakistan. The CICA is a pan-Asia forum for enhancing cooperation and promoting peace, security and stability in Asia. Ahead of the Summit, Jaishankar was welcomed by President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon. "An important Central Asian partner. EAM @DrSJaishankar welcomed by President of Tajikistan @EmomaliRahmon at the start of the #CICA2019 summit. CICA leaders will discuss collective strategies to deal with challenges facing the Asian continent," External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

Jaishankar said the CICA has always shown a strong commitment to combat terrorism and extremism and adopt a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism. "Early finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), proposed by India, is today even more essential and we seek your support in this regard," he said. India supports a peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan that is Afghan-led and Afghan-owned, he said.

"Regional connectivity initiatives that are inclusive, sustainable, transparent and respect the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity can boost trade and play a pivotal role in bringing prosperity and development to the region. "India for its part will always support these such regional connectivity initiatives," the minister said. The lack of energy security has emerged as another key developmental challenge, he said, adding that India has supported a better dialogue between consumers and producers for a stable energy market and for promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy.

"India's initiative of International Solar Alliance has received overwhelming support; 74 countries have signed the Framework Agreement. Developing renewable energy will be a great contribution to the security and stability of Asia and I invite CICA members who have not joined the Alliance to do so," Jaishankar said.  Sharing India's vision for a more secure and prosperous Asia as well as its concerns, Jaishankar said that the 21st century is being hailed as the Asian century and CICA can surely play a useful role in promoting peace, security and development in Asia.

"The India-Central Asia 5 dialogue format is big positive for cooperation and stability across regions. "India's vision of the Indo-Pacific is rooted in advocacy of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region). It is in sync with the theme of this Summit 'Shared Vision for a Secure and More Prosperous CICA Region'," Jaishankar added. The world has been witnessing far-reaching geo-strategic changes, which have also impacted the peace and security in Asia, he said. Globalisation is under stress due to new and emerging geo-political and geo-economic faultlines, he said.

"India supports a rule-based order in Asia, as in the rest of the world. But we confront unavoidable challenges such as terrorism, conflicts, trans-national crimes and maritime threats. "There are also issues of sustainable development including the lack of energy security, low intra-regional trade and deficit of connectivity. These must be urgently remedied for our common good," Jaishankar said. India is confident that the CICA would continue to evolve into a balanced, open and inclusive framework for Asian countries to interact and cooperate in addressing multi-faceted challenges, acting in accordance with the common vision for a more secure and prosperous Asia, he added. The new External Affairs Minister arrived here on Friday for the 5th CICA Summit.

The theme of the summit is "Shared Vision for a Secure and More Prosperous CICA Region". The Summit will adopt a declaration covering issues of cooperation within CICA. During the Summit, the CICA leaders are likely to deliberate on the existing and emerging issues of common concern and underline implementation of confidence building measures for developing Asia into a prosperous, secure and peaceful region. India is a member of the CICA since its inception and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had participated in the first CICA Summit held in 2002 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. India has been actively participating in various activities conducted under the aegis of CICA.

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