India stands for a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific: Defence Minister

He defined 'neighbourhood First’ as the cornerstone of India’s culture since time immemorial. India’s approach to the region is defined by its ‘Act East Policy’.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has emphasised that the Indo-Pacific is no more a maritime construct, but a full-fledged geo-strategic construct, and the region is facing a complex web of security challenges, including boundary disputes and piracy.

He made the statement at the inaugural address of 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs’ Conference (IPACC) here.

The minister reiterated India’s stand for a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific Region in the pursuit of shared security and prosperity.

He defined 'neighbourhood First’ as the cornerstone of India’s culture since time immemorial. India’s approach to the region is defined by its ‘Act East Policy’.

Singh added that India’s efforts towards building robust military partnerships with friendly countries underscore its commitment to not only safeguard national interests, but also address global challenges faced by all.

He suggested that the three-day event discuss ways to enhance interoperability during the HADR operations.

"Extreme weather events and natural disasters have become a new normal rather than being an exception and are major challenges in our region. It is our responsibility that the climate change-related concerns of small island nations of the Indo-Pacific are given the importance that they deserve, as these bear the brunt of climate change as an existential crisis. Climate change also threatens their economic security. The economic impact of climate change and extreme weather create a demand for climate-resilient and eco-friendly infrastructure. There is a need to understand the compulsions and perspectives of all our partner nations as well as sharing expertise and resources,” he said.

Rajnath Singh added that while it is a difficult task to arrive at a consensus plan of action in a big group, however, with determination and empathy, it is not impossible.

He referred to the recently concluded G20 summit and stated that the group of countries adopted the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration with consensus on all developmental and geo-political issues, making it historic and path-breaking.

Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of the Army Staff General Manoj Pande and Chiefs of Armies and delegates of 35 countries were present on the occasion.

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