Terming terrorism as the gravest threat faced by Asia, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday warned the global community against equating terrorists and their victims.

“Terrorism is the gravest threat we face in Asia. CICA members are its victims and so it should be clear that terrorists and their victims must never be equated,” he emphasized.

”An early finalisation of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), proposed by India, is today even more essential and we seek your support in this regard,” he told participants at the 5th Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. CICA is a pan-Asia forum for enhancing cooperation and promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.

Noting that many CICA members were victims of terrorism, Jaishankar, representing India for the first time as a minister at a multi-nation meet, expressed satisfaction over the fact that the grouping has always shown a strong commitment to combat terrorism and extremism.

His statement came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at the SCO Summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, hit out at countries “sponsoring, aiding and funding” terrorism in an indirect reference to Pakistan.

Jaishankar said the 21st century was being hailed as the Asian century and CICA could surely play a useful role in promoting peace, security and development in Asia.

The world, he said, has been witnessing far-reaching geo-strategic changes, which have also impacted the peace and security in Asia. ”Globalisation is under stress due to new and emerging geopolitical and geo-economic faultlines. India supports a rules-based order in Asia as in the rest of the world.”

The world was confronting unavoidable challenges such as terrorism, conflicts, trans-national crimes and maritime threats. There were also issues of sustainable development, including the lack of energy security, low intra-regional trade and deficit of connectivity. These must be urgently remedied for the common good of the global community, Jaishankar said.

On Afghanistan, he said India has supported a national peace and reconciliation process which was Afghan-led and Afghan-owned. ”We believe all initiatives and processes must include all sections of Afghan society, including the legitimately elected government.”

The minister said the lack of energy security has emerged as another key developmental challenge. India has supported a better dialogue between consumers and producers for a stable energy market and for promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy.

India’s initiative of International Solar Alliance has received overwhelming support as 74 countries have signed the framework agreement. ”Developing renewable energy will be a great contribution to the security and stability of Asia and I invite CICA members who have not joined the Alliance to do so,” Jaishankar said.