India offers terrorism handling expertise to Southeast Asia

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 20:12

Singapore: India is willing to share its terrorism handling expertise with the Southeast Asian countries, said External Minister Salman Khurshid here on Wednesday.

"As we look towards Southeast Asia, we have to be sure that Southeast Asia is stable and South East Asian is without tension," he said in his public lecture on `India and Southeast Asia: Today and Tomorrow`.

"I think it is important that we protect your region from tension and it is important we protect your region from the shadows of terrorism that strikes some parts of South East Asia from time to time," he said.

India has some experience in handling terrorism, Khurshid said in the lecture organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies.

"We shall do everything to help as possible," said Khurshid, pointing out that India has a number of cooperation agreements with the region.

Elaborating later, Khurshid said, "We are engaging with the ARF (ASEAN Regional Forum). Whatever the ARF collectively wants to work towards, India would pitch in whatever they think we should provide by way of assistance."

Information sharing was the most important part for the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), he pointed out.

The presence of the United States, Russia and India provided greater sense of confidence to the region.

"We can participate and contribute anyway they want us to do," he said.

India is also looking to establish air connectivity between Northeast of the country and cities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region, he said.

"There are slots available. But we would have a priority, obviously for the North East because I think that the potential we want to unlock of connectivity between India and ASEAN had a lot to do with the North East and we get a double advantage," Khurshid said.

Accepting that there was a need for more air connectivity between India and ASEAN, Khurshid said he would be discussing with the Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh on his return to New Delhi.

"We have an enormous amount to gain by providing link with ASEAN," he pointed out, noting that airlines worldwide were facing tough business competition.

PTI




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