India-ASEAN summit addresses tackling crime

Ninth ASEAN-India Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crimes (SOMTC) was held in a virtual mode where both sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms while emphasizing the need to boost international cooperation to combat terrorism and transnational crimes.

The Consultation was co-chaired by Mahaveer Singhvi, Joint Secretary (Counter Terrorism), Ministry of External Affairs, from the Indian side, and Puah Kok Keong, Deputy Secretary (Policy), Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore, from the ASEAN side. "Both sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and emphasized the need to strengthen international cooperation to combat terrorism and transnational crimes in a comprehensive and sustained manner," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

During the consultation, both sides discussed ways to enhance cooperation in the areas of terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, international economic crime, and cybercrime under the framework of the ASEAN-India Work Plan to combat transnational crimes.

Institutional linkages and capacity-building programmes between the two sides were also discussed. The 10th ASEAN-India SOMTC Consultation on Transnational Crimes will be held in 2023 in Indonesia.

India began formal engagement with ASEAN in 1992 as a "Sectoral Dialogue Partner" (and subsequently as a "Dialogue Partner" in 1996. The initial years as a Dialogue Partner (DP) entailed interaction at the Foreign Minister level which was further upgraded to the Summit level in 2002, when the first such Summit level meeting was held.

At the 20-year Commemorative Summit Meeting in New Delhi, in December 2012, our Dialogue Partnership was further elevated to a Strategic Partnership.

During the 25-year Commemorative Summit, in January 2018, India and ASEAN further agreed that our Strategic Partnership will be focused on building cooperation in the maritime domain.

The year 2022 marks 30 years of ASEAN-India relations and it has been designated as ASEAN-India Friendship Year by the leaders in October 2021.

(ANI)

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