Vastavam web: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today strongly pitched for putting in place a rules-based regional security architecture, reflecting growing convergence among major players like India, the US and Japan to have a coherent approach to deal with China’s aggressive posturing in the Indo-Pacific region.In an address at the ASEAN-India summit, Modi identified terrorism and extremism as the major challenge facing the region and said time has come for the countries of the region to join hands to collectively deal with it.”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,” he said.
Modi’s comments came a day after he and US President Donald Trump discussed shared commitment of the two countries for a free and open Indo-Pacific region.Prime Minister Modi also called for concerted efforts by countries of region to deal with terrorism and extremism.”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.
Favoring deepening of trade ties, Modi said, “Maritime links established thousands of years ago between India and ASEAN countries have enabled our trade relations in the past and we have to work closely to further strengthen them.”
China claims sovereignty over all of SCS, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries including Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei have counter claims.India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the SCS in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.The ASEAN has been pushing for a legally binding code of conduct for all stakeholders in the SCS but Beijing has been opposing such a framework asserting that it will resolve the dispute with respective countries under bilateral mechanism.Modi said 1.25 billion people of India are keen to welcome the ASEAN leaders as the Chief Guests at India’s 69th Republic Day Celebrations.
Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei are the members of the ASEAN.The ASEAN region along with India together comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.Prime Minister Modi also participated at a meeting of leaders of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).