Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday referred to state-sponsored terror as a “painful cancer”, calling it the leading cause of unsustainable security.
Speaking at the sixth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ meeting in Bangkok, Singh said, “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.”
Stressing on “sustainable security”, he said security is only effective when it is sustainable and that it is sustainable only when the interests of all in the region are taken on board. He also underlined the need for a more cooperative, equitable and consultative paradigm to deal with broad and complex security challenges to find sustainable solutions.
Speaking on India’s Indo-Pacific vision, Singh said that it is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific — one in which there is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of everyone involved, according to a government statement.
The minister referred to India’s Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) initiative and said, “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 on security and growth for all in the region.”
Rajnath also stated that India stands for a demilitarised South China Sea. Regarding the negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, Singh said that he hopes that the outcome of these talks will keep with all relevant international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, and promotes freedom of navigation, overflight and lawful commerce.
He also stressed on the need to protect the rights of nations that are not party to these negotiations and expressed hope that the situation will remain stable, without the use or threat of use of force or militarisation of the region.