Jakarta: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had called for collaboration among ASEAN and Plus countries for peace and security of the region as he said that India is committed to freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in international waters.
Rajnath Singh’s assertion at 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting -Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Jakarta comes at a time when the 18 regional members grouping is divided over China’s position on the South China Sea bringing insecurity in the region. ASEAN member states are; Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, and its eight dialogue partners (Plus countries) are India, US, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
In his address, the Defence Minister affirmed the ASEAN centrality and appreciated its role in promoting dialogue and consensus in the region, said the Ministry of Defence In a statement. He also reiterated India’s commitment to freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in the international waters in accordance with international laws, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
Highlighting that the conflicts extract a terrible toll in terms of human lives lost and livelihoods destroyed, disturb the stability at regional as well as global level and have adverse implications for food security, energy security etc, Rajnath Singh reiterated India’s commitment to work with ASEAN and Plus countries to ensure peace, prosperity and security, which is an apt theme for this year’s ADMM Plus, the MoD stated.
He cited Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote on peace “there is no way to peace, peace is the only way”. India’s proposal to co-chair the EWG on Counter-Terrorism was endorsed by ADMM-Plus as terrorism remains a serious concern to the countries in the region.