Need for serious global response to terrorism: Jaishankar

New Delhi, Jan 18 (IANS) Calling terrorism the most serious threat to global security, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar on Wednesday asked for a serious global response to it.

“Terrorism remains the most pervasive and serious challenge to international security. Developing a serious global response is of the highest priority, yet hard to do,” Jaishankar said while delivering the theme address at the Second Raisina Dialogue, India’s flagship geo-political conference.

“WMD (weapons of mass destruction) security will be a continuing concern, especially as terrorist groups strike deeper roots.”

“And there is a lack of purpose in confronting global challenges like terrorism, though some important exceptions should be acknowledged,” he added.

Speaking about India’s ties with the US, the Foreign Secretary said: “Our ties with the United States have been steadily growing and today cover vast areas of collaboration. We established early contact with the Trump transition team and see a strong convergence of interests and concerns.”

“With Russia,” Jaishankar said, ” India’s relationship has actually grown very substantially in the last two years, as has the bonding between our leaders. An improvement in US-Russia ties is therefore not against Indian interests.”

The India-China relation has broadened recently but it has been overshadowed by differences over political issues, Jaishankar said.

“But it is important for the two countries not to lose sight of the strategic nature of their engagement, or falter in their conviction that their rise can be mutually supportive. We will continue to invest more energy into this account in 2017,” he added.

“With Japan, there is really a transformation underway in the relationship that would make it a key player in India’s modernisation.”

Talking about the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its role in Eastern regional stability, he said “Its centrality and unity is an asset for the entire continent.”

Speaking on India’s relations with it’s extended neighbourhood, he said, “While the East was more an exercise of consolidation with Asean, the reaching out to the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and Iran have been among one of the hallmark initiatives of the current Government.

“As a result, India is today involved in the Middle East in a manner in which it has not been for many decades. Our Africa engagement has also acquired a very different quality and content.”

Speaking on the change in the foreign policy of the United States, he said, “The United States seems ready to change the terms of its engagement with the world. Relations between US and Russia could undergo a transformation that we may not have seen since 1945. Its dimensions, leave alone implications, are hard to predict.”

Regarding internal political transformation in European nations amidst the migration crisis Jaishankar noted: “Europe, engrossed in multiple domestic challenges and reconfiguring itself, signals less appetite for more distant politics even as it watches these developments.

“In the Western world, voices of inter-dependence and globalisation have become more muted.”

As for Asia, he said that “the economic outlook is more positive, although sentiment is clearly affected by developments in the West”.

On the role of China and Japan in Asia, he said: “The growth in China’s power and its expression abroad remain a dynamic factor in Asia. Japan is another major variable, as it seems to be preparing for more responsibilities.”

–IANS

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