NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attended the 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus organised online at Hanoi, Vietnam, on Thursday that marked the 10th anniversary of ADMM Plus.
ADMM Plus is an annual meeting of Defence Ministers of 10 ASEAN countries and eight partner countries. This year marks the 10th year of inception of ADMM Plus forum. A special commemorative 10th anniversary celebration was conducted which was attended by the Prime Minister of Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the Defence Minister was extended the privilege to address the celebratory session as a special gesture reflecting India’s recognition by the forum.
During his address, Rajnath Singh underlined the key role of 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. He complimented the achievements of the seven Expert Working Groups in sharing best practices in key domains including Maritime Security, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, Counter-terrorism and Peace Keeping Operations.
The Defence Minister also addressed the thematic discussions during the ADMM Plus meeting on the Regional and International Security Environment, where in, he presented India’s perspective. He emphasised that Indo-Pacific region in particular confronts numerous traditional and non-traditional security threats.
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, the US, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, Rajnath Singh emphasised India’s call for a 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 (UNCLOS).
Rajnath Singh underlined the importance of mutual trust and confidence based on restraint in activities and actions that may further complicate the situation in the region. He 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.
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 new Chair and wished them well for successful conduct of events in 2021.