Leaders from Europe and Asia, including Vice President Hamid Ansari, today condemned international terrorism in all its forms and manifestations at a summit in the Mongolian capital and pressed for the need to bring to justice those responsible for such attacks.
The leaders gathered at the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, “endorsed a Special Statement on International Terrorism that strongly and unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations committed by whomever, wherever and for whatever purposes,” said an official statement.
They “underlined the need to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, in accordance with the Charter of the UN and other obligations under international law,” it said, referring to the terror strikes in ASEM member states, most recently in the French city of Nice.
Vice President Ansari, who was the lead speaker for the Plenary Session on Promoting ASEM Partnership for Greater Connectivity, made a strong demarche on the need to isolate sponsors and financiers of terror and urged the leaders to go beyond condemnation to practical action.
“Leaders supported his call for strengthening of the international legal regime against terrorism, notably through the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, principally mooted by India in 1996 and currently under negotiation at the UN,” the statement said.
At the end of the two-day Summit, the leaders endorsed two main documents the Ulaanbaatar Declaration and the Chair’s Statement.
“The Ulaanbaatar Declaration is a visionary document that underlined the Leaders’ commitment towards revitalising ASEM into its third decade and promoting further connectivity, mutually beneficial, tangible partnerships and cooperation between Asia and Europe,” the statement said.
It said the Chair’s Statement focused on the deepening of Asia-Europe inter-connectedness, shaping and forging of multi-layered links, and mutually beneficial cooperation for peace and development, addressing regional and global challenges and promotion of effective multilateralism.
The ASEM meeting also deliberated upon issues arising out of recent developments affecting the Korean Peninsula and maritime security, including preservation of global commons in accordance with the international conventions.
In his address, Ansari focused on connectivity in all its dimensions institutional, digital, physical, economic and socio-cultural.
He underlined its importance not only as an enabler for development, but a powerful tool that must be utilised for encouraging grater people-to-people exchanges, facilitating trade and investment, building energy and academic networks, and connecting the hearts and minds of the people.
Other important outcomes for India included the welcoming by leaders of the 6th Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process Ministerial Meeting on Afghanistan to be held in New Delhi in 2016.
India’s initiative towards tackling Climate Change, the International Solar Alliance was also appreciated.
Leaders also welcomed India’s active role in shaping the discourse on working methods of ASEM and the focus on tangible areas of cooperation, including identification of the 20th area as ‘youth exchanges’ to coincide with the 20th Anniversary of ASEM, the statement added.
On the sidelines of the Summit, Ansari also met with the leaders of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
He also held wide ranging meetings with top Mongolian leaders including President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj, Parliament Speaker M Enkhbold and Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat and underlined the close and special relations shared by the two countries. They discussed all matters of bilateral interest as well as regional and global developments.
ASEM comprises of 53 entities – 51 countries from Asia and Europe and two regional bodies – the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. It represents around 62.3 per cent of the world’s population, 57.2 per cent of the global GDP and almost 60 per cent of the world’s trade.
India’s engagement with ASEM began in 2007 and has since actively participated at the Summits level and Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held biennially.