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MJ Akbar: India has ideological answer to radicalisation and strength to stop it

“Lands have borders, but oceans have none. Yet, often, maritime issues become a reason for dispute among nations,” said MJ Akbar at the two-day Indian Ocean Conference in Singapore.

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MINISTER OF State for External Affairs M J Akbar Thursday said that India has the strength to stop the scourge of radicalisation because it has an “ideological answer” to it.

“India has the strength and conviction to stop the spreading scourge of radicalisation because India also has an ideological answer to this menace, for we offer the template of a democratic polity and modernity to counter regressive jihadism and terrorism,” he said while addressing the inaugural session of the two-day Indian Ocean Conference in Singapore.

He pointed out that maritime security is an important issue that needs to be discussed by the nations along the Indian Ocean. “Lands have borders, but oceans have none. Yet, often, maritime issues become a reason for dispute among nations,” he said, urging the participating countries to engage in a dialogue.

Addressing the session via video conferencing, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj focussed on the importance of the Indian Ocean in the history of trade and culture. “African, Arab and Asian civilisations were already trading across the Indian Ocean before we were colonised. And through trade also flourished culture, it merged and prospered across shores,” she said.

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Speaking of its place today in world commerce, she said most of the world’s oil and other goods travel through the Indian Ocean and India is now working towards utilising the opportunity it offers through the Sagarmala Project. Taking Swaraj’s point further, Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari spoke on the Sagarmala Port Development Project through which India aims to establish new ports modernise old ones.

The conference, organised by think-tank India Foundation, aims to engage key political and intellectual figures from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and host country Singapore, on subjects of commerce and culture. Among others present were Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan.

With PTI inputs

First published on: 02-09-2016 at 06:13:06 am
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