India has said that Asian nations should make a commitment to zero tolerance towards terrorism to maintain peace and security in the continent.
"Today, we see a re-emergence of forces, which spawned the culture of terrorism in our region. It is necessary for us to redouble our efforts to root out this menace to our common peace and security with single-minded focus," Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Murli Deora said on Saturday while addressing the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building Measures in Asia.
"No cause, however noble, can justify killing of innocent men, women and children through acts of terrorism. We should commit ourselves to zero tolerance for terrorism," he said.
Deora was addressing the second summit of the CICA in former Kazakh capital Almaty, which comprises India, Russia, China, Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, Palestine and Turkey. Thailand and South Korea have also joined it this year.
He said the process of globalisation had led to emergence of new security threats and challenges. These include international terrorism and transnational crimes like trafficking in drugs, arms smuggling, cyber crimes, international economic crimes and money laundering.
Speaking on behalf of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the meet, also attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese leader Hu Jintao and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf,
Deora said India has always believed that CICA can help contribute to the development of a cooperative and pluralistic security order in Asia, based on mutual understanding.
"Since achieving independence in 1947, India has been at the forefront of initiatives to foster greater cooperation between the countries of Asia. The 1954 Panchsheel Principles and the 1955 Bandung Conference were important milestones in this process. We note that the Panchsheel Principles are identical to the CICA Declaration of Principles adopted by us in 1999," Deora said.
He underscored that replication of models, which could have been successful elsewhere, may not necessarily be suitable for the continent as Asia presents a diverse picture, which requires a unique Asian framework.
"India has therefore always emphasized that CICA has to evolve its own approach, rooted in the realities of Asia. In CICA, we have recognised this diversity and the consequent need therefore to move ahead gradually, building upon the basis of consensus and voluntary participation," Deora stated.
He noted that together the CICA nations had a significant share of natural resources, global energy reserves and trade, but they also had to face the fact that a large number of people were still afflicted by poverty and lack of development.
"Closer bilateral and regional economic cooperation among the CICA members can act as a powerful catalyst for both development and prosperity of the peoples as well as for resolution of difficult problems left over from history," Deora said.
"We believe that CICA should above all focus on and take collective steps to further economic cooperation and greater social and cultural interaction among the member states," he urged.
The CICA Catalogue of Confidence Building Measures, which was adopted two years ago at the summit attended by the then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee, elaborates a broad framework of confidence building measures in the economic, social and humanitarian dimensions as well for fighting against the new challenges such as terrorism and transnational crimes.
Assuring India's constant support and cooperation, Deora proposed further steps for the evolution of CICA towards common destination of peace and prosperity for peoples of the member nations.