December 11, 2017 6:13:09 pm
India today called for a “war” against terrorism and said radicalisation must be fought on the battlefield as well as in the mind. Addressing the India-ASEAN connectivity summit here, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar also said India recognises that the existential threat comes from ideologues that believe in faith-supremacy.
Talking about connectivity, he emphasised on the need for ensuring freedom of navigation in all waters, seen as a reference to China’s expansionist behaviour in the South China Sea. “We believe in pluralism, and equality of culture and faith; and we recognise that the existential threat comes from ideologues who believe in faith-supremacy with their evil, barbaric terrorist militias,” Akbar said.
The two-day summit is exploring ways to deepen connectivity between India and the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member countries. “We believe in bridges, not barriers; in freedom of navigation in all waters. We recognise what needs to be done in the fourth world war, the war against terrorism. And we know that radicalisation must be fought on the battlefield as well as in the mind,” he said.
Akbar said there was a need for consistency in fighting terrorism and insisted that there was no good terrorism or bad terrorism. On connectivity, he said the 21st century will not belong to land and that it will be a century of the seas, skies and space.
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“All you have to do is look at the map. Geo-politically, and for many other reasons, India is the pivotal nation of Asia. ASEAN launched the process of redefinition by concentrating on the logic of regional groups,” he said. Akbar said connectivity has acquired exciting and creative dimensions, adding there is huge scope to enhance connectivity between India and the ASEAN countries.
The ASEAN has been a major trading bloc for India and both sides are currently exploring ways to further enhance it. The ASEAN region, along with India, comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one-fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated to be over USD 3.8 trillion.
Investment from ASEAN to India has been over USD 70 billion in the last 17 years, accounting for more than 17 per cent of India’s total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). India’s investment in ASEAN during the same period has been more than USD 40 billion.
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