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Remarks by Prime Minister at the 10th East Asia Summit in Kuala Lumpur (November 22, 2015)

November 22, 2015

Your Excellency Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohammad Najib
Your Majesty,

Prime Minister Najib and the people of Malaysia deserve our deepest appreciation for outstanding arrangements for the Summits in this beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur.

And, I congratulate you for your excellent review of the processes of East Asia Summit.

This is a historic summit. We applaud the ASEAN members for realizing the vision of the ASEAN Community and charting the path to 2025.

We expect ASEAN to continue to play a leading and central role in realizing the vision of broader regional integration and cooperation.


In this forum, we often thought of terrorism as a peripheral problem for this region. The barbaric terrorist strikes in Paris, Ankara, Beirut, Mali and on the Russian aircraft is a stark reminder that its shadow stretches across our societies and our world, both in recruitment and choice of targets.

We must build new global resolve and new strategies for combating terrorism, without balancing it against political considerations. No country should use or supports terrorism. There is no distinction between groups. There are no sanctuaries. There are no funds. There is no access to arms. But, we also have to work within our societies and with our youth. I welcome the commitment to delink religion from terrorism and the efforts to promote human values that define every faith.

We are also days away from the summit on climate change in Paris. There, we must not only come together to craft a balanced and concrete outcome on climate change. But we must also stand together to send a clear message that we will not retreat in the face of terror.


Since my government entered office 18 months ago, no region has seen greater engagement from India than the Asia Pacific and the Indian Ocean Region. This reflects a long standing national consensus in India on the importance of this region for India and the world.

The world still looks to the region to address our global challenges and uncertainties. Yet, our region is also navigating its way through multiple transitions to a stable, peaceful and prosperous future.

The East Asia Summit is the key forum for shaping the collective future of the region.

First, East Asia Summit must continue to support the evolution of an inclusive, balanced, transparent and open regional architecture for security and cooperation. We must deepen our collective commitment to strengthen and abide by international rules and norms.

Second, the oceans remain the pathway to our prosperity and security. India shares with ASEAN a commitment to freedom of navigation, over flight and unimpeded commerce, in accordance with accepted principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. Territorial disputes must be settled through peaceful means.

India and Bangladesh recently settled their maritime boundary using the mechanism of UNCLOS. India hopes that all parties to the disputes in the South China Sea will abide by the Declaration on the Conduct on South China Sea and the guidelines on the implementation. Parties must also redouble efforts for early adoption of a Code of Conduct on the basis of consensus.

Third, we need stronger commitment and closer cooperation on cyber security. We will also have to work on certain norms of behavior in this area. Outer space is also emerging as a major area of security concern. We must also continue to strengthen cooperation on non-proliferation.

India shares both land and maritime boundaries with ASEAN. India will continue to deepen bilateral security partnerships in ASEAN and with other EAS partners. We will remain active participants in the ASEAN-led security dialogue and cooperation forums.

Four, We must also work towards early conclusion of a balanced and broad-based Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Trans Pacific Partnership is also a major development. These, I hope, will eventually not become competing regimes, but the foundations of an integrated economic community in the region.

Finally, development cooperation is at the heart of the East Asia Summit. India will continue to support the efforts of our partner countries. And, we are taking the lead in establishing EAS Virtual Knowledge Portals on Disaster Management and Trauma Care & Nursing. The Nalanda University is shaping up as a world class centre of knowledge and learning.

I share the vision of East Asia Summit focusing on strategic political, economic and security concerns in the region.

Thank you.

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