Rajnath hits out at countries using terrorism for political gains

Bangkok, Nov 18 (PTI) Hitting out at countries using terrorism to pursue political goals, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday pitched for strong global action against terrorist safe havens and steps to choke terror financing.

In an address at the 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) here, Singh, without taking name of any country, said state-sponsored terrorism was not just a 'painful cancer', but is also the leading reason for unsustainable security.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform comprising ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners including India. The grouping focuses its work on maritime security, counter-terrorism and humanitarian assistance.

'It is so much worse when terrorists are aided, abetted, armed, financed and sheltered by States. The interplay between states and non-state actors, used as proxies to foment violence, has worsened this menace.

'The persistence of state-sponsored terrorism is not just a painful cancer, it is also the leading reason for unsustainable security,' Singh said in his remarks seen as directed at Pakistan.

Terrorist safe havens will have to be eliminated and their financing channels to be choked to thwart their cross-border movement to ensure sustainable regional security, Singh said.

He said some states were using terrorism to pursue political goals, making regional security vulnerable.

On the negotiations for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, Singh hoped that the outcome of these talks will be in sync with all relevant international laws, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Emphasising the need to protect the rights of states that are not party to these negotiations, he expressed hope that the situation will remain stable, without the use or threat of use of force or militarisation of the region.

China has increased its military assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea region.

On the Indo-Pacific region, he said India's vision for it was based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific.

India is for ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of everyone involved, Singh said.

He said the sustainability implies prioritisation of peaceful resolution of disputes, avoidance of use or threat of use of force and adherence to international laws.

'Our region must remain open and welcoming to the interests of all, those who live in it and others whose interests are in it. In short, our approach to security in the Indo-Pacific is sustainable by definition because it emphasises Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR),' he said.

In the context of terrorism, security is only effective when it is sustainable, Singh said, adding it will be sustainable only when the interests of all in the region are taken on board.

He stressed upon the need for a more cooperative, equitable and consultative paradigm to deal with broad and complex security challenges in the region. PTI MPB MRJ AKJ MRJ