Rajnath Holds Talks With US, ASEAN Counterparts in Jakarta

MoD India appreciated Indonesia’s leadership of ASEAN this year, and the excellent organisation of the ADMM-Plus….reports Asian Lite News

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday held bilateral meetings with his Indonesian and Vietnamese counterparts on the sidelines of 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ meeting – Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Jakarta, Indonesia, a Defence Ministry official said.

Singh also held a brief conversation with his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, in Jakarta on Thursday, focusing on the India-US strategic ties and ways to strengthen the common efforts towards a more secure world.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that during his meeting with the Defence Minister of Indonesia, Prabowo Subianto, Singh appreciated Indonesia’s leadership of ASEAN this year, and the excellent organisation of the ADMM-Plus.

The two Ministers took stock of the bilateral defence relationship and re-committed to further strengthen cooperation, particularly in the maritime domain.

They also reviewed the regular exchanges in the form of training, staff talks and exercises, and discussed avenues for promotion of defence industry collaboration.

Both countries have co-chaired the Expert Working Group (EWG) on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) for 2021-2024, the official added.

The Union Defence Minister also held talks with the Minister of National Defence of Vietnam General Phan Van Giang.

The MoD added that the two ministers reviewed the progress in the implementation of the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030’ signed during the visit of Rajnath Singh to Vietnam in June 2022.

They committed to work together for the deepening of the multifaceted bilateral defence ties, spanning across a wide spectrum covering training, capacity building, defence industry cooperation, UN peacekeeping, bilateral ship visits and exercises, the MoD official added.

The Defence Minister also met with Secretary General of ASEAN, Kao Kim Hourn, on the sidelines of the 10th ADMM-Plus.

While reiterating India’s continued support to ASEAN centrality, Singh appreciated ASEAN member states’ enthusiastic participation in India-ASEAN activities, including the first ASEAN-India Informal Defence Ministers’ Meeting, maiden ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise, India’s Initiatives for Women in UN Peacekeeping Operations and for Marine Plastic Pollution Response, the official said.

The Union Defence Minister further appreciated ASEAN Secretariat’s excellent support in implementation of ASEAN-India projects. They exchanged views on ways and means to further enhance ASEAN-India cooperation in view of advancing the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Earlier on Thursday, Singh attended the 10th ADMM-Plus.

He congratulated the Indonesian Defence Minister for the successful chairmanship of ADMM-Plus.

During the course of the meeting, the Union Defence Minister welcomed Laos as the new chair of ADMM-Plus and wished them all success for conduct of events in 2024.

‘India Committed to Freedom of Navigation’

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. (ANI)

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