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In what can be seen as a strong endorsement to India's fight against terrorism in South Asia, a conference here on rebuilding war-struck Afghanistan on Saturday said that the fight against this scourge is a priority for the Heart of Asia region.
"We recognise terrorism, violent extremism conducive to terrorism, extremism, radicalization, separatism and sectarianism, and linkages among them, as the gravest challenges to the peace, security and economic development of Afghanistan, the Heart of Asia region and the international state system in general," a joint declaration issued following the Heart of Asia - Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) conference on security and economic development of Afghanistan here said.
"We reaffirm that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, civilisation or ethnic group," it said
"The fight against terrorism is a major priority for all Heart of Asia countries and we reiterate our resolve to work together to prevent and suppress terrorist acts through increased regional solidarity and cooperation, in accordance with the UN Charter and obligations under international law, including international human rights law, international refugee law as applicable and international humanitarian law, as well as through the full implementation of the relevant international conventions, the UN Security Council Resolutions and the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy."
India was represented in the conference by Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar.
"We express our readiness to work with the newly-established United Nations Office on Counter Terrorism to prevent, suppress and eradicate terrorism in the Heart of Asia region, in accordance with the UNGA (United Nations General Assembly) Resolution 21/79," the statement said.
In a veiled reference to Pakistan, it called for "concerted regional and international cooperation to ensure elimination of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including dismantling of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens, preventing and interdicting the movement of terrorists and terrorist groups, including foreign terrorist fighters, across the countries of the Heart of Asia region, as well as disrupting all financial, tactical, logistical or any other support for terrorism without any distinction".
Started by Turkey in 2011, the HoA-IP serves as a platform to discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbours.
Saturday's statement comes after Indian External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was in Russia's Sochi for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting, Friday said that India strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and Afghan Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah said at a media conclave in New Delhi on Thursday said that "those who nurture terrorism are doing so for "short-sighted and misplaced intentions" in what is an apparent reference to Pakistan.
The Baku Declaration also called on all states to "take action against these terrorist entities in accordance with their respective national counter-terrorism policies, their international obligations and the UN Global Counter Terrorism Strategy".
It said the Heart of Asia participants recognised the necessity of taking serious measures to address radicalisation and recruitment of youth by terrorist networks and their supporters.
"While Afghanistan continues to fight at the forefront of the war against these terrorist groups, the HoA-IP participating countries support the efforts of the government of Afghanistan towards peace and reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban and its fight against terrorist groups," it added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)