India, African countries resolve to fight terror

Lucknow Declaration urges need for stronger international partnership

India and several African countries on Thursday pledged to deepen cooperation to combat the growing threat of terrorism and preserve maritime security by sharing information, intelligence and surveillance, in a joint deceleration adopted at the first India- Africa Defence Ministers conclave at the ongoing Defexpo. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said India was geared to provide a range of military hardware to Africa.

‘Threat to peace’

“We condemn, in the strongest terms, the growing threat of terrorism and acknowledge that it constitutes a major threat to peace and security in the region. We urge all countries to take resolute action in rooting out terrorism in all forms and manifestations, terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and eliminating financing channels and halting cross-border movement of terrorists. We understand the need for all countries to ensure that all territory under their control is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries in any manner,” the Lucknow Declaration said, emphasising the need for stronger international partnership in countering terrorism and violent extremism, including through increased sharing of information and intelligence.

The Declaration also called for strengthening the UN Counter-Terrorism mechanisms and to ensure strict compliance with the UN Security Council sanctions regime on terrorism. “We urge the international community to envisage the adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism in the UNGA,” it stated.

Maritime security

Recognising the importance of the oceans and seas to the livelihoods of our peoples and that maritime security is a pre-requisite for the development of blue or ocean economy, the Declaration said, “We seek to increase our cooperation in securing sea lines of communication, preventing maritime crimes, disaster, piracy, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing through sharing of information and surveillance.”

38 countries

The dialogue was attended by 12 Defence Ministers and 38 countries were represented at the conclave. “India will continue to intensify and deepen engagement. It will be a partnership guided by your priorities. More specifically on the defence cooperation, these include strengthening cooperation and mutual capabilities in combating terrorism and extremism, keeping our cyberspace safe and secure and supporting the UN in advancing and keeping peace,” Mr. Singh said, offering offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), fast interceptor boats, body and vehicle armour, night vision goggles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Dornier aircraft, and arms and ammunition.

He said India’s partnership with Africa was an open one with “all the possibilities and avenues for collaboration from our side being open to you to choose from and decide as per your priorities.”

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