Rajnath calls for open and inclusive order in Indo-Pacific
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressing the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus, through video conferencing, in New Delhi on June 16, 2021.

Rajnath calls for open and inclusive order in Indo-Pacific

New Delhi, June 17, 2021

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has called for an open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific region based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations.

Addressing the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus on Wednesday, Rajnath Singh stressed the need for peaceful resolutions of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws.

The ADMM Plus is an annual meeting of Defence Ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and eight dialogue partner countries - Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States. Brunei is the Chair of the ADMM Plus forum this year.

“India has strengthened its cooperative engagements in the Indo-Pacific based on converging visions and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Premised upon the centrality of ASEAN, India supports the utilisation of ASEAN-led mechanisms as important platforms for the implementation of our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific,” he added.

During thematic discussions on regional and international security environment, he put forth India’s views before the Defence Ministers of ASEAN countries and eight dialogue partners. The emerging challenges to international peace and security cannot be addressed with outdated systems designed to deal with the trials of the past, he added.

Rajnath Singh reiterated India’s support to freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce for all in international waters under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“Maritime security challenges are a concern to India. The sea lanes of communication are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development of the Indo-Pacific region,” he said.

The Minister expressed the hope that the Code of Conduct negotiations will lead to outcomes keeping with international law and not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that are not a party to these discussions.

On the "Act East Policy", announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2014, Rajnath Singh stated that the key elements of the policy aim to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.

Terming terrorism and radicalisation as the gravest threats to world peace and security, he called for cooperation to disrupt terror organisations and their networks; identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable and ensure that strong measures are taken against those who support terrorism by providing finance and sanctuary to terrorists. As a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), he said India remains committed to combating financing terrorism.

To deal with cyber threats, he called for a multi-stakeholder approach, guided by democratic values, with a governance structure that is open and inclusive and a secure, open and stable internet with due respect to the sovereignty of countries, that would drive the future of cyberspace.

On the most recent challenge faced by the world, COVID-19, Rajnath Singh said the effect of the pandemic is still unfolding and the test, therefore, is to make sure that the world economy moves on the path of recovery and no one is left behind. This is only possible if the entire humanity is vaccinated.

“Globally available patent-free vaccines, unhindered supply chains and greater global medical capacities are some of the lines of effort that India has suggested for a combined effort,” he added.

Referring to the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, he said India remains one of the first to respond in times of distress in the immediate as well as extended neighbourhood. As a founding member of the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM), India seeks to enhance capacity building through collaboration in the areas of Maritime Search & Rescue, he added.

The Minister also underscored the importance India attaches to ASEAN centrality and unity in ensuring peace and stability in the region. India shares a deep connection with ASEAN and has continued its active engagement in many areas contributing to regional peace and stability, particularly through ASEAN led mechanisms, such as East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and ADMM-Plus.

The India-ASEAN strategic partnership has been strengthened by the flourishing cultural and civilisational links and enhanced people-to-people cooperation.

Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (CISC) Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain and other senior officials of Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs attended the meeting.


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