One of the fundamental principles of Panchasheela adopted by neutral countries during the era of Cold War was based on respect for each other’s sovereignty and noninterference in internal affairs. To ensure this common security is essential for nations, especially, for the smaller countries. Common security means respecting and ensuring the security of each and every country.
Asia is a region of great diversity. Countries differ in size, wealth and strength. They vary in historical and cultural traditions as well as social systems, and have different security interests and aspirations. However, we are all in the same Asian family. With our interests and security closely intertwined, we will swim or sink together and are increasingly becoming a community of common destiny.
This century is labelled, the Century of Asia. Asia today, though facing more risks and challenges, is still the most dynamic and promising region in the world. Peace, development and win-win cooperation are the main trends in the region.
Therefore, it is necessary to advocate a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security in Asia. We need to innovate our security concept, establish new regional security cooperation and jointly build a road for the security of Asia that is shared by all.
Cooperative security means promoting the security of both, individual countries and the region as a whole through dialogue and cooperation; comprehensive security means upholding security in both traditional and non-traditional fields. We should take into account the historical background and the reality of Asia’s security issues, adopt a multi-pronged and holistic approach, and enhance regional security governance in a coordinated way. We should bear in mind the common security interests of all countries, and start with low-sensitivity areas to build awareness of meeting security challenges through cooperation. We should expand the scope and means of cooperation and promote peace and security through cooperation. It is important to ensure longstanding security. Sustainable security means we need to focus on development and security so that security would be durable. Development is the foundation of security, and security the precondition for development. For most Asian countries, development means the greatest security and the master key to regional security issues.
The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) was initiated with the above vision in mind.
The 5th CICA Summit was held yesterday in Dushanbe, in Tajikistan with a view to find ways and means of upholding peace in Asia and the world, and promote common development. The participants at CICA advocate a new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and coordination.
At this Summit, Sri Lanka proposed to the global community to enhance cooperation in the fields of Defence, Intelligence Sharing, Human Resources Development, Economy and Trade. People- to- people contact is another sector where closer cooperation could be established.
President Maithripala Sirisena pointed out that an important factor to face the challenge posed by terrorists and violent extremists is cooperation among the global community. Addressing the CICA delegates, he said the unity of the CICA countries is essential in our battle against terrorism.
“I take this opportunity to request members who have gathered here today not to leave space for outside powers to suppress the power of the Asian nations. I trust the Asian region as the forerunner of the next century, should be strong and powerful in every aspect, especially, in peace and economic strength,” he said.
The President said it is our collective responsibility to promote peace, stability and security in Asia to create a more secure and prosperous Region and assured that Sri Lanka is ready to join hands with all member states in these efforts while respecting each other’s sovereignty, equality and individuality. He referred to undue interference in the internal matters of countries in the guise of protecting human rights. “At this gathering I especially request not to damage and interfere in the sovereignty of the countries because of allegations of human rights violations. Freedom and democracy are indispensable features of every country. Any effort to influence and intimidate free nations is not acceptable in any way.”
In this context, one cannot ignore the significance of regional security, he said and expressed hope that CICA objectives would be instrumental in ensuring peace and stability in the region. “Peace plays a vital role in alleviating poverty too.
As much as peace is essential to win the battle against poverty, defeating terrorism is imperative to ensure equal economic prosperity for every citizen. In this endeavour, strengthening economic objectives is also essential.”
President Sirisena called on the CICA leaders to “wholeheartedly commit ourselves to ensure that the Asian region is free from poverty in the future. I call upon every one of you to make your valuable contribution towards this end.”
CICA is of special importance to smaller nations such as Sri Lanka, faced with threats of terrorism with international dimensions, because this multinational forum has the objective to enhance cooperation among its member states in the areas of peace, security and stability in Asia and the world.
At the summit, CICA leaders are likely to deliberate on the existing and emerging issues of common concern to members and underline the implementation of confidence building measures for developing Asia into a prosperous, secure and peaceful region.
On the sidelines of the CICA meeting, President Sirisena met other leaders and exchanged views on recent developments in Sri Lanka pertaining to security and its impact on economic development.
He thanked all member states for unanimously accepting Sri Lanka as a Full Member of CICA and extended his appreciation to China for proposing Sri Lanka’s membership.