‘India seeks secure Asia free of terror’

June 29th, 2012 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) India seeks a secure Asia
free from the threats of terrorism and proliferation, a senior diplomat said here Friday.

“We seek a peaceful and secure Asia free from the threats of terrorism, proliferation, piracy and conflict between states. There is common commitment to maintaining freedom of the seas, combating terrorism and promoting inclusive economic growth,” Sanjay Singh, secretary (East) in the ministry of external affairs said.

He was speaking at the inaugural India-Japan-South Korea Trilateral at defence ministry-funded think tank Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses here. The trilateral had been mandated in the joint statement by India and South Korea during the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Seoul in March.

“In India today there is wide ranging support for the strategic partnerships with Japan and Korea and it is indeed noteworthy that we have been able to constantly re-invent and re-invigorate the relationships,” Sanjay Singh said.

Noting that India, Japan and South Korea depend heavily on the sea lanes of communications for their energy security, he added: “Our expectation is to see this process (trilateral) generating ideas that will influence the wider relationship existing amongst the partners both at governmental level or at the people-to-people level and how we view our region and emerging Asian architecture. This impact will be good measure of the success of this process.”

Japanese ambassador Akita Saiki and South Korean ambassador Kim Joong-Keun also participated in the trilateral.

Welcoming the scholars from Japan and South Korea IDSA Director General Arvind Gupta said India’s policy was to encourage and participate in cooperative approaches which would enable all countries in the region to counter traditional and non-traditional security challenges and to ensure that the critical sea lanes in the region are kept open, secure and free for navigation and trade.

The security situation in East Asia over the years has been a matter of some concern, and rightfully there has been some initiative to build trust and confidence, he added.

About 10 scholars from Japan’s Tokyo Foundation and South Korea’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security participated in the day-long trilateral, which deliberated on issues such as the evolving Asian security and economic architecture, non-traditional security issues, including maritime security cooperation, and prospects of the India-Japan-South Korea trilateral.

China’s rise in the evolving security architecture was discussed in the context of the US pivot and re-balancing to the Asia-Pacific region and developments on the Korean peninsula. Scholars noted a disconnect between Asia’s security and economic architecture.

A range of views were expressed on the role of ASEAN and Russia in the Asian structure. Both Japan and South Korea rely on their respective alliance with US but they also engage with China. The role of Japan, South Korea and China trilateral summits were discussed.

The conference also came out with a set up recommendation for collaboration and cooperation among the three countries in areas such as developing and strengthening the security architecture in Asia-Pacific engaging China thoughtfully fighting the menace of piracy in the sea and mitigating natural disasters like earth quake, tsunami etc. There was also agreement for joint study and research on issues of mutual interest.

Subsequent editions of the trilateral will be held in Seoul and Tokyo.

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