India backs freedom of navigation in Indo-Pacific; seeks ending of terror sanctuaries
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informs the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus forum that India desires a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific region based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday reiterated India's desire for a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific region based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations.
Rajnath Singh virtually addressed the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), which included 10 ASEAN Member countries and 8 Dialogue Partners (Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States).
"India seeks peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws. India has been extending its cooperative engagements in the Indo-Pacific based on the convergence of vision and values for promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region," Rajnath said, taking a swipe a China.
Listing India's concerns in the Indo-Pacific region, the defence minister said, "The sea lanes of communication are critical for peace, stability and prosperity and development of the Indo-Pacific region. Developments in the South China Sea have attracted attention in the region and beyond. India supports freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce in international waterways.
Rajnath also said that terrorism and radicalisation are the gravest threats to peace and security in the world today.
Asserting that India shares global concerns over terrorism, Rajnath said that "at a time when networking between terror groups is reaching alarming proportions, only through cooperation can the terror organisations and their networks are fully disrupted."
Without naming Pakistan, the defence minister called upon the ASEAN forum to adopt strong measures against those who encourage, support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists.
Other concerns outlined by Rajnath Singh were about cyberattacks and cryptocurrency thefts.
Calling upon ASEAN nations to work together in the post-Covid scenario, Rajnath said: "Never has the Indian concepts of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (the world is one family) and Sarve Bhavantu Sukhino (all be at peace been more relevant. Today an outlook that envisages the world as a family will encourage a shared approach. As we look at the current regional and international security environment, new challenges to international peace and security are emerging. Multiple challenges to a dynamic and inter-dependent world cannot be addressed with outdated systems that were designed to deal with the trials of the past."