Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for intensifying regional cooperation to effectively deal with terrorism and pitched for a rules-based security architecture for the resource-rich region, seen as a veiled reference to China's expansionist posturing in the Indo- Pacific.
In an address at the ASEAN-India summit here, Modi identified terrorism and extremism as the major challenge facing the region and said time has come for the countries of the region to join hands to collectively deal with it.
"We have individually strived very hard to fight terrorism and violent extremism. It is time that we jointly address this challenge by intensifying cooperation in this crucial area," he said.
The 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is considered one of the most influential groupings in the region and India and several other countries including the US, China, Japan and Australia are its dialogue partners.
In a clear reference to the South China Sea (SCS) dispute which has cast a shadow over the summit talks, Modi said India will continue its support to the ASEAN for establishing a rules-based security architecture in the region.
China's aggressive military build up in the SCS was one of the focus areas of the deliberations at the ASEAN summit.
India has been supporting freedom of navigation and access to resources in the SCS in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The ASEAN have been pushing for a legally binding code of conduct for all stakeholders in the SCS but Beijing has been opposing such a framework asserting that it will resolve the dispute with respective countries under bilateral mechanism.
Prime Minister Modi also talked about shared values and common destiny between India and ASEAN, adding 1.25 billion people in India were eagerly waiting to receive leaders of the ASEAN at the Republic Day celebrations in January next year.
The ASEAN region along with India together comprises combined population of 1.85 billion people, which is one fourth of the global population and their combined GDP has been estimated at over USD 3.8 trillion.
Indias investment in ASEAN during the same period has been more than USD 40 billion.
Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei are the members of the ASEAN.
Prime Minister Modi also participated at a meeting of leaders of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)