Executive Director CISS, Ambassador Ali Sarwar Naqvi, participated in the Shangri-la Dialogue Summit meeting which took place June 3 to 5 in Singapore. He was invited by the International Institute of International Affairs (IISS) of London, and had also attended the event last year at their invitation. This year was the 15th Shangri-la Dialogue, which has been held annually since 2001.
The meeting was attended by 35 delegations, many headed by Defence Ministers or senior military officers of the respective countries. Besides the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, delegations of the five P-5 countries were also present. The US delegation was headed by the Secretary Defense, the UK delegation was headed by the Secretary of State for Defence, the French Defence Minister, the Russian Vice Defence Minister and the Chinese Deputy Chief of the Central Military Commission.
There were five plenary sessions, spread over two days, on the following subjects: Meeting Asia’s complex security challenges, Managing military competition in Asia, Making defence policy in uncertain times, Containing the North Korean Threat, Military capability development: New technologies, limilted budgets and hard choices. The challenges of conflict resolution, and pursuing common security objectives. There were also three breakout simultaneous sessions.
The summit discussions were marked by hard exchanges between the US Secretary Defense Ashton Carter and the Chinese Military representative Admiral Sun Jianguo. The US Defense Secretary strongly criticized Chinese ‘provocations’ in the South China seas and said China ‘could end up erecting a Great Wall of self-isolation’, if it continued with the militarization of disputed islands in the South China Sea. The Chinese Admiral, in his speech, rejected the US allegation and remarked ‘we do not make trouble, but we have no fear of trouble’, in a n obvious reference to the warnings of the US and allied delegations.
After the speech of the Indian Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, who made veiled references to support and even sponsorship of terrorism by states in South Asia, Ambassador Naqvi took the floor in the Q&A session, and addressing the Indian Minister, said that Pakistan was taking strong action against terrorist groups and militants under the Zarb-e-Azb operations, and asked why had India embarked upon a program of nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean. The Minister, in his reply reverted back to the issue of terrorism, and said, in regard to the nuclearisation of the Indian Ocean, that India had a responsible policy on nuclear matters and was taking ‘necessary action’ in the Indian Ocean and elsewhere for its security. However, Ambassador Naqvi’s comment was duly noted by the participants and several senior persons praised his effort at highlighting the issue of nuclearization of the Indian Ocean.