New Delhi: Members of the regional group BIMSTEC are looking at enhancing security cooperation as it is an important element at enhancing partnership among them, a top official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on November 20.
Speaking at its first coastal security workshop, Ms Vijay Singh Thakur, Secretary (East) in the MEA said India attaches great importance to the grouping of South and Southeast Asian nations and it is a part of its neighbourhood first policy.
“As we are providing and looking for unhindered sea lines of communication (SLOC) and economic integration of the region, we have to be mindful of the security at sea,” Ms Thakur said.
Highlighting threats like human trafficking, narcotics, exploitation of natural resources, piracy, sea-based terrorism, Ms Thakur said, “we have been looking at security issues clearly under the BIMSTEC umbrella.”
Ms Thakur said in the last three years, the BIMSTEC countries have developed very close security cooperation and this should further deepen and diversify.
She said the National Security Advisors and chiefs of BIMSTEC countries have met thrice since 2017, which underscores the security cooperation among the member states.
“Under BIMSTEC, we also have another framework in which we do talk about security issues and that is the joint working group on counter-terrorism and transnational crimes. That itself is an area where there is an exchange of views on combating issues related to terrorism whether it is financing or cross-border support, all those issues are looked at this joint working group on counter-terrorism,” she added.
Ms Thakur said issues like countering radicalism is also being looked into.