Manila: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday strongly pitched for setting up of a rules-based regional security architecture in the Indo-Pacific region, in a clear display of convergence of strategic interests among major powers and India, and sending a subtle message to China against its military assertiveness in the area.
In his address at the ASEAN-India and East Asia summits, Prime Minister Modi also identified terrorism and extremism, including cross-border terrorism, as the major challenge facing the region and said time has come for all the countries to join hands to collectively deal with it.
The success of the prime minister’s canvassing can be gauged from the fact that the East Asia Summit has adopted separate declarations on countering terror financing and effectively dealing with the terrorist narratives in the region.
Modi talked about need for united approach to contain terrorism and radicalisation in the region, asserted India’s long-held position on freedom of navigation and overhead flights in the Indo-Pacific, called for an irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and sought a detailed probe into North Korea’s nuclear proliferation linkages.
“India assures the ASEAN of its steady support towards achieving a rules-based regional security architecture that best attests to the region’s interests and its peaceful development,” Modi told leaders of 10 South East Asian countries.
His comment is seen as India’s readiness in playing a major role in the broader regional security framework along with the US, Japan and Australia, which are giving shape to a quadrilateral security coalition, amid growing concerns among the ASEAN and other players over China’s military manoeuvring in the Indo-Pacific.
On the threats faced by the region by terrorism, including cross-border terrorism, Modi said time has come for all the countries to join hands to collectively deal with it. “We have individually strived very hard to fight terrorism and violent extremism. It is time that we jointly address this challenge by intensifying cooperation in this crucial area,” he said.