• Indian Defence Minister strongly tells the ASEAN nations

The Indian Minister for Defence, Rajnath Singh at the 4th Singapore – India Defence Ministers’ Dialogue, in Singapore on November 20, 2019.

By Suresh Somu

Bangkok. 21 November 2019. NEVER ever take global terrorism for granted. Like a spark of fire, it can rage and bring mankind to its knees.

With so many hardline groups now online and looking to push a slanted agenda, sometimes over conflicts few outside their region will even have heard of, international media groups and unconnected governments will have to become even more sensitive to how events they are portraying could be interpreted or misused by actors far away.

ASEAN (Association of South-east Asian Nations) leaders, too, have seriously noted that terrorism has been on the rise over the years with several attacks causing bloodbath and turmoil to nations. And not spared the lives of young aspiring children to adults who have been radicalised or at the mercy of terrorism.

Significantly, the ministers from 10 ASEAN countries, plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States met in Bangkok, Thailand. And they exchanged views on the regional and global security environment to ensure that a terrorised “tsunami” never gets started in the region.

India Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called upon the international community to eliminate terrorist safe havens, disrupt their networks & financing and thwart their cross-border movement to ensure sustainable regional security. In his address, he urged the international community to eliminate scourge of terrorism at the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus.

Rajnath Singh
The Union Minister for Defence, Shri Rajnath Singh receiving the Guard of Honour before the 4th Singapore – India Defence Ministers’ Dialogue, in Singapore on November 20, 2019.


Very descriptively, Rajnath said terrorism as the most obvious and heinous of cross-border crimes, adding that some states use terror to pursue political goals making regional security vulnerable.  “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,” he warned.

Impressing upon ‘Sustainable Security’, the theme of ADMM Plus, Defence Minister said, security is only effective when it is sustainable. And for security to be viable, interests of all in the region have to be taken on board collectively. The need for a more cooperative, equitable and consultative paradigm to deal with broad and complex security challenges to find sustainable solutions is paramount according to Rajnath.


He endorsed India’s Indo-Pacific vision is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific; one in which there is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of everyone involved.

“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),”

On the negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, he hoped that the outcome of these talks will keep with all relevant international laws, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and promote freedom of navigation, overflight and lawful commerce. He also emphasised on the need to protect the rights of states that are not party to these negotiations. And he is looking forward to the situation remaining stable, without the use or threat of use of force or militarisation of the region. 

On the continuing topic of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, the Defence Minister said, India looks forward to the progress made through dialogue in addressing all related issues, including the proliferation trail that links South and East Asia. “As dialogue remains on the table, we hope missile launches and such destabilising activities will cease,” he added. 

Mr Rajnath highlighted that India has taken active part in all ADMM Plus mechanisms and contributed to their success.

He said India and Myanmar have co-chaired the third cycle of Experts’ Working Group on Military Medicine (EWG-MM), adding that India hosted a standalone Field Exercise on Military Medicine in India in March this year. He also expressed India’s eagerness to co-chair India-Indonesia Expert Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the next cycle.

Bottom line, working hand in hand, every country must keep a close watch and never take global terrorism for granted. Simply, because as I reiterated earlier, a terror-filled spark of fire can rage and bring mankind to its knees.