India and ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) must look at seriously countering terrorism activities to avoid any disruptions in business, trade and commerce, Union Minister of State for External Affairs, General (Retd.) V.K. Singh said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
“Terrorism knows no borders, colour, religion, gender and therefore it is for us to ensure that we bring prosperity to our region by keeping out terrorism,” said Singh while inaugurating an ‘ASSOCHAM India-ASEAN Economic Forum.’
“We have tasked the ASEAN-India Business Council for consolidating the process of mutually beneficial economic engagement between ASEAN and India by playing a role in developing an ambitious agenda to enhance trade and investment and strengthen economic cooperation based on combined will,” he said.
Earlier while addressing the ASSOCHAM summit, Preeti Saran, secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs said that V.K. Singh would lead Indian delegation to the India-ASEAN Ministerial Meeting that will be held in Lao PDR later this month to prepare for the India-ASEAN Summit that takes place in September.
She said that India is in talks with the ASEAN on a maritime agreement and exploring establishment of a gigabyte passive optical network to boost digital connectivity.
“We also plan to host 5th Roundtable on ASEAN-India Network of Think-tanks to organise an international conference on ASEAN-India Civil Aviation wings and a policy dialogue on Mekong-Ganga Cooperation soon,” said Saran.
“We are now in talks with ASEAN under the newly revived Trade Negotiating Committee with an aim to spur our mutual trade to its true potential,” she added.
Highlighting that both India and ASEAN have been affected by terrorism with terrorists striking in last one year in Bangkok, Jakarta and Pathankot, there is a need towards deepening engagements with an aim to counter terrorism by improving intelligence sharing, co-operation between law enforcement agencies, expatriation perpetrators of terrorist acts and promote development of close linkages between coastguards, navies and customs organisations.
“Science and technology also forms an important component of our cooperation we have enhanced ASEAN-India Technology Fund from $1 million to $5 million, this will go towards setting up of an ASEAN-India Innovation Platform and facilitate commercialisation of low cost technologies and collaborative research and development projects,” further said Saran.
“We have also offered our indigenously developed GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) which provides advanced navigation and location systems and information facilities,” said the secretary.
She also informed that MEA would commemorate 25th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations next year which also coincides with 50th anniversary of formation of ASEAN.
Amid others who addressed ASSOCHAM summit included – Ton Sinh Thanh, Ambassador of Vietnam in India; Ma Teresita C. Daza, Ambassador of Philippines in India; ASSOCHAM President, Sunil Kanoria and secretary general, D.S. Rawat.