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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar speaking at 18th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar speaking at 18th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting

Must collectively combat terrorism, violent extremism: Jaishankar at 18th BIMSTEC

ANI | Updated: Mar 29, 2022 15:03 IST

Colombo [Sri Lanka], March 29 (ANI): Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that the BIMSTEC member states must collectively combat terrorism and violent extremism as he emphasized India's commitment to intensify, expand areas of cooperation, especially connectivity, energy and maritime.
"Participated at the 18th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Colombo today. Thank FM Prof. GL Peiris for his hospitality. Emphasized our commitment to intensify and expand areas of cooperation, especially connectivity, energy and maritime cooperation," EAM Jaishankar tweeted.
Speaking at the 18th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Colombo, Jaishankar said that much of what grouping can achieve in our national development efforts is, of course, predicated on a peaceful, secure and stable environment.
"We cannot ignore the challenges that terrorism and violent extremism, as also transnational crime and narco-trafficking or indeed new challenges such as cyber-attacks, pose to all of us," EAM said in a statement.
"All of these affect our economic development efforts. We need to put in place the remaining elements of the legal architecture that will enable our law enforcement agencies to collaborate more closely and more effectively," he added.
The Bay of Bengal achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 targets and ensuring a "good order at sea" in keeping with international maritime law, particularly UNCLOS is a priority.
He also said that a practical way to proceed is to have discussions using existing dialogue mechanisms, even while we put in place a plan of action in the maritime domain which is consistent with our national priorities.
Asserting that the international system is going through a very challenging phase, perhaps one of the most difficult in recent memory. "The challenges of COVID-19 pandemic have not yet fully abated. But recent developments in Ukraine have added to international disquiet," he said in the statement.
Addressing the gathering including fellow Foreign Ministers, he emphasised the acceleration of the efforts to boost intra BIMSTEC trade and economic ties.
He said: "tomorrow our leaders will adopt the BIMSTEC Charter. This is a land mark achievement in our effort to develop the institutional architecture for BIMSTEC. But we must not rest on this achievement and instead move on to 'next steps' that can be taken to further strengthen BIMSTEC. I am confident that we will identify priority institution building tasks & areas of cooperation, and task our senior officials to work with the Secretary General for their realization."
EAM noted that on Wednesday, the group leaders will also adopt a BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity which provides a framework that can help the grouping better align thier national transportation and connectivity networks.
"It must be fully backed by energetic business collaboration. We must also accelerate efforts on ongoing initiatives such as the establishment of a coastal shipping eco system, of port facilities, of ferry services in the Bay of Bengal, as also power grid interconnectivity and a regional motor vehicles agreement," he said.
Welcoming Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand as the incoming BIMSTEC Chair.
"India looks forward to working with you Sir and your country, during the course of your Chairmanship to take the BIMSTEC agenda forward," he said further.
In concluding the speech, EAM Jaishankar said that India will bring to bear all relevant policies and approaches - one, as Neighbourhood First, give it the utmost priority; two, in consonance with our SAGAR outlook, realize its full maritime potential; and three, as a first responder, be it on HADR situations, COVID-19 or economic recovery, be there at critical times for all of us. (ANI)