India on Tuesday pressed the countries sharing the Indian Ocean to show zero tolerance towards “State-sponsored terrorism” and isolate and impose “strong sanctions” on the perpetrators and financiers of the menace, in an apparent reference to Pakistan.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, while addressing the first summit of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) in Jakarta, underlined that terrorism is an impediment to development and a threat to all open and pluralistic societies.
At the summit themed ‘Strengthening maritime cooperation for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indian Ocean’, he said the Ocean must be protected from “traditional and non-traditional threats, particularly piracy” and all those using these international waters must act with responsibility and restraint.
He also made some proposals which India would like to implement for the safety of the Indian Ocean and making it a zone of prosperity and harmony.
“Today, terrorism has become the major impediment to development and threatens all pluralist and open societies,” Ansari told the gathering of leaders from the 21-member countries and representatives of 7 Dialogue Partners here in the Indonesian capital.
Asserting that “no cause justifies the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians”, the Vice President said, “IORA must show zero tolerance for State-sponsored terrorism”, in an apparent reference to Pakistan which indulges in such activities. Pakistan is not a member of the IORA.
“The perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of terrorism must be isolated and face strong sanctions,” he said.
“We have reiterated our commitment to combating terrorism by adopting the IORA Declaration on countering violent extremism,” he said.
Ansari said the IORA members should “help each other by sharing intelligence, securing our cyber space, and minimising the use of internet and social media for terrorist activities”.
He said there was “a pressing requirement to work out the modalities for institutionalising an IORA cooperation mechanism to this end by pooling the resources available with the member states”.
India, the Vice President said, shares the vision for a peaceful region and the seas around it.
“We believe that our ocean must be protected from traditional and non-traditional threats, particularly piracy,” he said.
He described the IORA Concord signed at the summit today as “a milestone document” that underscores the criticality of maritime safety and security.
In a veiled reference to China’s growing assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea, Ansari said, “All using these international waters must act with responsibility and restraint”.