New Delhi, Oct 16: Launching their maiden defence dialogue, India and Indonesia Tuesday decided to bolster their counter-terror cooperation and agreed to work together for the security of the Indian Ocean.
In a veiled allusion to Pakistan, India sought Indonesia’s cooperation in combating safe havens of terror.
Defence Minister A.K. Antony held the first ministerial-level biennial defence dialogue with his Indonesian counterpart Purnomo Yusgiantoro in the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
“The two sides exchanged views on a whole range of issues relating to regional and global security, bilateral exercises involving services, training, co-production of defence equipment and ammunition and visits at high levels,” Sitanshu Kar, the spokesperson of India’s defence ministry, said in a statement from Jakarta.
Issues relating to counter-terrorism, maritime security of the Indian Ocean and the situation in Afghanistan figured prominently in the discussions.
During his talks, Antony stressed on the threat of terrorism perpetuated by state and non-state actors affects all equally.
Bolstered by the success of the first joint exercise on counter-terrorism and jungle warfare in India earlier this year, he proposed that the two countries should continue the joint exercises between the two armies.
Antony also mooted some proposals to boost defence cooperation with Indonesia, which included the possibility of joint naval exercises. He also offered to Indonesia the establishment of a formal maritime domain information sharing arrangement between the two navies.
The Indian defence minister also announced that a high-level Indian Air Force team would send a team to finalise details of training and spares support package after the Indonesian Air Force finalised its requirements.
In an indirect reference to Pakistan, Antony said that at times, the acts of individual terrorists and terrorist organisations are also actively or otherwise encouraged by allowing such organizations safe refuge and other forms of support.
“It is seen that there are countries from where terrorists are free to launch their operations against other countries. This cannot be tolerated. The world is paying a heavy price for such mindless policies,” he said.
“No country should allow its territory to be used for any form of terrorism, directed against any other country or its people,” he said.
Alluding to power rivalries in the Indian Ocean region, Antony said although these are being conducted in local theatres, the impact is felt in the wider regional arena and also globally.
Underlining growing stakes in the maintenance of peace and stability in the immediate and extended neighbourhood, including the entire Indian Ocean region, Antony said: “We have a vital stake in the evolution of balance security and cooperation mechanisms through which we can build consensus and pursue dialogue.”
“We seek to improve our partnership with all countries in the Indian Ocean Region on bilateral basis as well as through multilateral fora like IONS, IOR-ARC etc,” he said.
Later, interacting with journalists, Antony pitched for freedom of navigation in South China Sea.
“Our view is that all countries should exercise restraint and resolve the issue through dialogues according to principles of international law,” he said.
“India supports the freedom of navigation and access to resources in accordance with principles of international law. These principles should be respected by all.”
The two sides also exchanged views on the emerging scenario in Afghanistan and West Asia.