Manila: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday 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, he 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.
Seen as a reference to China's military maneuvering at the South China Sea (SCS) which has cast a shadow over the ASEAN summit, PM Modi said India will continue its support to the ASEAN for achieving a rules-based security architecture in the region.
Following is his full speech (courtesy - mea.gov.in):
I am delighted to be on my first visit to Manila in this landmark 50th year of ASEAN’s establishment. We are also celebrating 25 years of ASEAN – India dialogue partnership.
I compliment the Philippines for its able stewardship of ASEAN during this significant year and thank you, Mr President, for the excellent arrangements made for this Summit. I also thank the honourable Prime Minister of Vietnam for Vietnam’s contribution as Country Coordinator to further strengthen the ASEAN-India partnership.
Excellencies, ASEAN’s remarkable journey is indeed worthy of reflection as much as it is of celebration. On this historic occasion, I am confident that ASEAN will further resolve to work together with one vision, one identity and as one independent community.
India’s Act East Policy is shaped around the ASEAN, and its centrality in the regional security architecture of the Indo-Pacific region is evident. Our wide-ranging agenda of cooperation under the 3rd ASEAN-India Plan of Action has progressed well covering the three crucial pillars of politico-security, economic and cultural partnership.
Excellencies, 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. 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.
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.
Excellencies, the befitting theme of ‘Shared Values, Common Destiny’ for our25th anniversary celebrations has been jointly celebrated with a number of commemorative activities. I look forward to a befitting culmination of the commemorative year and receiving you at the India-ASEAN Special Commemorative Summit on 25 January 2018 in New Delhi.
The 1.25 billion people of India are keen to welcome the ASEAN leaders as our chief guests at India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations. I am committed to working with you to realize our common destiny. Thank you.
(With PTI inputs)