New Delhi: Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended the 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) Plus organised online at Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday, 10th December, that marked the 10th anniversary of ADMM Plus, stated the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a press communication. ADMM Plus is an annual meeting of Defence Ministers of 10 ASEAN Countries and eight partner countries. A special commemorative 10th anniversary celebration was conducted which was attended by the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was extended the privilege to address the celebratory session as a special gesture reflecting India’s recognition by the forum.
During his address, stated the MoD, Defence Minister Singh underlined the key role of the ASEAN-centric forum in promoting dialogue and engagement towards a pluralistic, cooperative security order in Asia. He highlighted the collective achievements of ADMM Plus in the past decade in advancing multilateral cooperation through strategic dialogue and practical security engagements, and complimented the achievements of the seven Expert Working Groups in sharing best practices in key domains including maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), counter-terrorism, and peace keeping operations.
The Defence Ministry stated that the Minister also addressed the thematic discussions during the ADMM plus meeting on the regional and international security environment, wherein he presented India’s perspective. He observed that the Indo-Pacific region, in particular, confronts numerous traditional and non-traditional security threats. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recalled the launch of the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in last year’s East Asia Summit and stated that IPOI is an open global initiative which draws on existing regional cooperation architecture and mechanism. He noted the commonality between India’s IPOI and ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific, both being opportunities for cooperation.
In his speech addressing the Defence Ministers of ASEAN member countries, USA, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, Defence Minister Singh emphasised India’s call for an open and inclusive order in Indo-Pacific based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, peaceful resolutions of disputes through dialogue, and adherence to international rules and laws. He also reiterated India’s support to freedom of navigation and over-flight for all in international waters in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). He underlined the importance of mutual trust and confidence based on restraint in activities and actions that may further complicate the situation in the region, said the Defence Ministry.
The Minister stated that terrorism remains a major scourge for the region and world. He reiterated that the structures that support and sustain terrorism continue to exist, including in India’s neighbourhood. He called for stronger commitment and need to strengthen International mechanism to fight terrorism, jointly and vigorously.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh thanked Vietnam for the excellent conduct of ASEAN related defence events including ADMM Plus despite the restrictions imposed by Covid-19. He also welcomed Brunei Darussalam as the new Chair and wished them well for the successful conduct of events in 2021.
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