India on Thursday sought concerted action to tackle terror, radicalisation, drug trafficking and organised crime across Asia, and said its vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific is aimed at ensuring the shared pursuit of progress and prosperity.
Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla outlined India's position while addressing a virtual meeting of senior officials of member states of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA), a grouping established by Kazakhstan in 1992.
"In Asia, we face the challenges of terrorism, radicalisation, drug trafficking and organised crime. To face these diverse challenges, we need to undertake concerted action," he said.
"India's vision of the Indo-Pacific as a free, open and inclusive region underpinned by international law is premised on the common pursuit of progress and prosperity. In this direction, India has traditionally maintained close and friendly cooperation with regional organisations in Asia, including CICA," he added.
CICA was created to boost cooperation to promote peace, security and stability in Asia. The grouping also promotes dialogue and confidence-building across Asia. The 27 members of CICA include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
A regular meeting of CICA foreign ministers will be held this year, while the next summit of the grouping is slated for 2023.
Shringla also told the meeting that India's call for reformed multilateralism reflects contemporary geopolitical realities and is a "pressing need now more than ever before". He said, "Multilateral institutions must be made more accountable to their membership, they must be open and welcoming to a diversity of viewpoints and cognisant of new voices, especially those from Asia."
The UN Security Council must be made more representative of developing countries to build trust and confidence in its ability to provide leadership, and India backs a multi-polar global order that respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries and works to resolve international disputes through peaceful negotiations, he said.
Describing CICA as an important vehicle for advancing peace, progress and prosperity in Asia, Shringla welcomed the grouping's recent decision to set up a new confidence-building measure on epidemiology and healthcare. "As co-coordinators of CICA confidence-building measures on transportation corridors and energy security, we are interested in contributing to CICA's efforts," he said.
India has deputed a diplomat of the rank of second secretary to CICA, who is based in Nur-Sultan. Under the energy security track, India organised a virtual seminar on "renewable energy and energy security" on June 18.
Wednesday's meeting of senior officials discussed the growing role of Asia, the revision of the draft CICA catalogue of CBMs, and mechanisms for enhanced dialogue, including a think tank forum.