Jakarta [Indonesia], November 16 (ANI): Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has reiterated India's commitment to freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in international waters in accordance with international laws, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
In his address at the 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting - Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Jakarta on Thursday, Rajnath Singh affirmed ASEAN's centrality and appreciated its role in promoting dialogue and consensus in the region, Ministry of Defence said in a press release.
He called for regional security initiatives that are consultative and development-oriented to reflect the larger consensus among various stakeholders. Rajnath Singh committed towards nurturing practical, forward-looking and result-oriented cooperation with ADMM-Plus for enhancing maritime security in the region.
Recognising that terrorism is a serious threat to international peace and security, including in the ASEAN region, India proposed to co-chair the EWG on Counter-Terrorism. This proposal was endorsed by ADMM-Plus as terrorism remains a serious concern to countries in the region.
He reiterated India's commitment to work with ASEAN and Plus nations to ensure peace, prosperity and security, which is an apt theme for this year's ADMM Plus. In his address, he cited Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote on peace "there is no way to peace, peace is the only way".
He stressed that conflicts result in the loss of human lives and the destruction of livelihoods and disturb stability at regional and global levels. Rajnath Singh said that conflicts also have an adverse implication for food security, energy security, according to Ministry of Defence press release.
He emphasised the role of dialogue and diplomacy in enduring peace and ensuring global stability. He reiterated India's message to the world that "this is not an era of war", and spoke about the imperative to give up the "us versus them" mindset.
During his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Samarkand in 2022, PM Narendra Modi said, "Today's era is not an era of war." PM Modi's statement has been endorsed by several world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron.
In his address at the ADMM-Plus in Jakarta, Rajnath Singh appreciated ASEAN Member States' enthusiastic participation in India-ASEAN activities, particularly the Initiative for Women in UN Peacekeeping Operations and Initiative for Marine Plastic Pollution Response.
He also praised ASEAN Member States' for their active participation in the maiden ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise held in May this year and in the Expert Working Group (EWG) on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) activities, of which India and Indonesia are co-chairs in the current 2020-2023 cycle.
In a post on X, Rajnath Singh stated, "Attended the 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting - Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Jakarta and shared my thoughts on need for deepening collaboration among ASEAN and Plus countries for peace, prosperitysecurity in the region. We are committed towards nurturing practical, forward-looking and result-oriented cooperation with ADMM-Plus for enhancing maritime security in the ASEAN region."Upon his arrival at the meeting venue, Singh was welcomed by the Indonesian Defence Minister and the Chair of ADMM Plus, Prabowo Subianto. According to the release by the Defence Ministry, the ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN.
Since 2017, the ADMM-Plus Ministers have been meeting annually to bolster cooperation amongst ASEAN and the Plus countries. Indonesia is hosting the meeting as it is the chair of ADMM-Plus.
On the sidelines of the ADMM-Plus, Rajnath Singh will hold bilateral meetings with the Defence Ministers of the participating nations and discuss defence cooperation matters to further strengthen mutually-beneficial engagements, according to Ministry of Defence earlier press release.
The ADMM-Plus is a platform for the ASEAN member states -Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam- and its eight Dialogue Partners -India, US, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand- to strengthen security and defence cooperation, according to Ministry of Defence earlier press release.
India became the dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992. Furthermore, the inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Vietnam's Hanoi on October 12, 2010.Since 2017, the ADMM-Plus Ministers meetings have been held annually to bolster cooperation amongst ASEAN and the Plus countries. (ANI)