13 March 2018 12:11:12 IST

Delink religion from terror: Modi

Pitches for new global anti-terror strategies

Warning that terrorism is the “biggest threat” to the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday it should be de-linked from religion as he pitched for new global anti-terror strategies, while ensuring that no country gives sanctuary to terrorists, a veiled reference to Pakistan.

He underlined the need for ensuring that the Internet does not become a “recruiting ground” for terrorism, amid the growing trend of ISIS luring youth from across the globe, and spoke about the world coming together to use “military force” and “international legal systems” to fight the menace.

He referred to the recent attacks in Paris, Ankara, Mali and on the Russian plane and said terrorism is not a “peripheral problem” for the Asian region but its shadow stretches across the world, both in recruitment and choice of targets.

Modi, who addressed the East Asian Summit and spoke to the Indian Diaspora on the second day of his three-day visit to Malaysia, stressed the need for working “within our societies and with our youth” to counter terrorism.

Growth gathering speed He said India draws strength from its diversity and that his government is working to create an environment where enterprise flourishes and everybody gets basic needs such as a roof, sanitation, water, healthcare and education.

In his 45-minute speech at the Malaysia International Exhibition and Convention Centre, he said development in India is “gathering speed” amid the global slowdown and the country is growing at 7.5 per cent, with faster growth expected in the coming years.

Asean Community On Sunday, Southeast Asian nations established a formal community that attempts to create freer movement of trade and capital in an area of 625 million people with a combined economic output of $2.6 trillion.

The community declaration was signed by leaders of the 10- member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Kuala Lumpur.

Twelve years in the making, the Asean Community is a landmark in the 48-year history of a group founded at the height of the Cold War as an anti-communist bulwark.

The Asean Community includes a political, security and socio-cultural dimension in a region with governments ranging from communists in Vietnam and a quasi-military regime in Myanmar to the kingdom of Brunei and the boisterous democracy of the Philippines.

But it is the economic community that offers the most concrete opportunities for integration in a region whose combined gross domestic product (GDP) would make it the world’s seventh-largest economy.

In practice, Asean has already virtually eliminated tariff barriers among the 10 countries, said Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, the summit host, at the signing ceremony. “We now have to ensure that we create a truly single market and production base, with freer movement of goods and services.”

At the closing news conference, however, he said Asean had no specific deadline for achieving zero tariffs, but would aim for “meaningful deliverables that can be done every year when we meet at the Asean summit.”