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MEA Secy Saurabh Kumar highlights India's perspectives on terrorism, cybersecurity at ASEAN forum

New Delhi [India], June 9 (ANI): Secretary East in the Ministry of External Affairs, Saurabh Kumar on Thursday participated in the ASEAN Regional Forum Senior Officials' Meeting (ARF SOM) virtually and shared India's perspectives on the threat posed by terrorism and the challenges of cyber security.

He also appreciated the role of the forum in advancing peace, security, and cooperation in the region. "Secretary (East) appreciated the role of ASEAN-led architecture particularly the ARF in advancing peace, security, and cooperation in the region," read the MEA press release.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the ARF member states and chaired by Cambodia as the Chairperson of ASEAN.

The meeting reviewed the activities and exchanges of the 27 members of ARF over the past year and deliberated on its future plans and activities. Senior officials exchanged views on regional and international developments, and on the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism, maritime and cyber security.

Recognizing the evolving traditional and non-traditional threats in the maritime domain, he emphasised the convergence between the ASEAN Outlook for the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), India's Indo-Pacific Oceans' Initiative (IPOI) and Indo-Pacific policies announced by several ARF countries.

In the current inter-sessional year, Australia, India and Indonesia co-chaired an ARF workshop on "Law of the Sea and Fisheries" on December 7-8, 2021. India, the US, and Indonesia co-chaired the 13th ARF Inter-Sessional Meeting on Maritime Security on May 12, 2022. India seeks to continue to contribute to ARF activities and processes in the next inter-sessional year, said the press release.

Former Ambassador to Myanmar and Iran, Saurabh Kumar also took part in the East Asia Summit Senior Officials' meeting on Wednesday over a video conference chaired by Cambodia as ASEAN Chair.

"SecretaryEast @AmbSaurabhKumar participated in the East Asia Summit Senior Officials' Meeting today chaired by Cambodia as ASEAN Chair, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had tweeted.

The meeting also discussed issues of regional and international importance, he added, continuing the thread.

The talks with several high-level delegations underlined the key role of the East Asia Summit(EAS) as a leading mechanism for the promotion of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific with ASEAN at its centre.

India as a part of its strategic vision envisages a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific with respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations and peaceful settlement of issues through mutual co-operation.East Asia Summit focuses on seven pillars for cooperation and collaboration namely maritime security, maritime ecology, maritime resources, capacity building and resource sharing, disaster risk reduction and management, science, technology and academic cooperation and trade, connectivity and maritime transport with an aim to fulfil the over-arching and converging interests in the Indo-Pacific.

These, together with India's commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and customary law of the seas, provide a direction and a framework for efforts to enhance public good in the broader Indo-Pacific.The East Asia Summit (EAS) is a premier leaders-led forum to exchange views on strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific. Earlier, the EAS conference was first initiated in 2015 and the first conference was held in New Delhi. The second was held in Goa in 2017, the third in Bhubaneswar in 2018, and the fourth in Chennai last year.Since its inception in 2005, EAS has been playing an important role in negating issues related to traditional and non-traditional security challenges in the region. (ANI)