Moscow: India on Wednesday, pitched for united global action in strongly resisting “opportunistic” efforts of some countries which are supporting, financing and providing safe havens to terror groups for “limited” objectives.
Addressing the Moscow Security Conference in Moscow, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said terrorism is being “reinvented” in newer and even more dangerous manifestations and all major players must come together to deal with the challenge.
Seen as a reference to Pakistan, he said terrorism will “recoil” on those who nurture it, asserting that India will steadfastly partner all friendly countries which are confronted with the challenge of terror groups.
Jaitley also said India supports a greater role for Russia in international affairs as well as in “our shared neighbourhood” to effectively deal with major challenges.
The defence minister said cooperation among major powers to reclaim territories from ISIS in the Middle East can become a template for similar steps elsewhere. He, however, did not elaborate further.
In an oblique reference to China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, Jaitley said resurgence of territorial disputes in the maritime domain is a serious challenge, adding India is for ensuring rights of freedom of navigation and over-flight as well as unimpeded commerce.
Jaitley also came down hard on those who still seek to make distinctions between good and bad terrorists, despite all the evidence and experience to the contrary. He said manipulation of young minds by fundamentalist groups using new technologies and social media have a serious impact.
“We should also resolutely resist opportunistic efforts by some states to support terrorist proxies by training, funding or providing safe havens to such groups for their limited objectives,” he said at the sixth Moscow conference on international security.
On the positive side, Jaitley said, the territory acquired by ISIS in the Middle East has begun to be effectively challenged by several countries.
“It is reassuring and should be taken to its logical conclusion. Cooperation between major powers in this effort can become a template for similar steps elsewhere,” he said.
At the same time, he said even work is on to eliminate the breeding grounds of terrorism in the Middle East, the dangers of such elements returning to their home countries has become a major challenge.
“We need to encourage closer information exchanges and intelligence cooperation to address this threat,” he said. Referring to the situation in Afghanistan, Jaitley said a policy of zero tolerance towards violence and terrorism and continued efforts to consolidate the capacity of the Afghan government to deal with violence are essential.
The minister said the scourge of terrorism remains the primary security challenge for all peaceful countries. “We have successfully addressed this threat for over three decades. We will continue to strengthen ongoing cooperation in counter-terrorism with our partners,” he said.
Talking about maritime issues, he said maritime territorial disputes are particularly complex and need to be managed effectively, lest they undermine the regional order as well as structures and processes that help maintain peace and stability.
He said there is a need to ensure continued prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
“India believes that the rights of freedom of navigation and over-flight as well as unimpeded commerce should be ensured. These are vital to India’s own economic engagement with the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.
In the course of his address, Jaitley also referred to the terror attack in St Petersburg and said the global nature of this menace and the need for a coherent and sustained international response to it is now widely acknowledged.
Fourteen people were killed when a blast ripped through a train carriage on the St Petersburg metro early this month. “The manipulation of young minds by fundamentalist groups using new technologies and social media has already caused long-term damage to our societies. One manifestation of this is the recent string of lone-wolf attacks in many countries,” he said.
The minister also talked about escalation of tensions in the Korean peninsula saying it is a matter of concern. “The linkages between proliferation in that region with the deterioration of India’s own security environment are widely known. Addressing the current situation should acknowledge this aspect,” he said.
Jaitley also spoke about non-traditional threats to security and said effective management of cyber-space has emerged as a key national security challenge for many countries.
On situation in Afghanistan, he said it continues to be challenging. “Facile assessments that imply there is a choice between the evil forces at play in that country are endangering the gains made by the brave Afghan people with the support of the international community over the past decade and more,” he said.
He said India believes that a secure, stable and peaceful Afghanistan is achievable with the continued commitment of the international community. “India has provided assistance and support to the friendly people of Afghanistan. We will continue to do as much as we can. We also look forward to working in tandem with all parties that share similar objectives in Afghanistan,” he said.