Rajnath Singh calls for open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific; terms SLOCs critical for peace and prosperity - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 16 June 2021

Rajnath Singh calls for open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific; terms SLOCs critical for peace and prosperity

Rajnath addressing 8th ADDM Plus,  urges cooperation to fight terrorism


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


He stressed on “peaceful resolutions of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws.” 


“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 utilisation of ASEAN-led mechanisms as important platforms for implementation of our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific,” he said.


The Indian defence minister was addressing the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus on June 16, 2021. 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. 


During thematic discussions on regional and international security environment, Rajnath stressed that the emerging challenges to international peace and security cannot be addressed with outdated systems designed to deal with the past.


He reiterated India’s support to freedom of navigation, over-flight and unimpeded commerce for all in international waters in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 


“Maritime security challenges are a concern to India. The Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development of the Indo-Pacific region,” he stressed. 


On Prime Minister Narender Modi’s ‘Act East Policy’ that he announced in November 2014, Rajnath said its key elements are 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 gravest threats to world peace and security, Rajnath called for collective cooperation to fully disrupt terror organisations and their networks; identify the perpetrators and hold them accountable and ensure that strong measures are taken against those who support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists. As a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), he said India remains committed to combat financing of terrorism.


On the Covid-19 pandemic, Rajnath Singh said the effects are 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 entire humanity is vaccinated, he stated. “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 highlighted.


Rajnath stated that India remains one of the first to respond in times of distress with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in India’s 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 and Rescue, he added.


Rajnath underscored the importance India attaches to ASEAN centrality and unity in ensuring peace and stability in the region. He said India shares a deep connect 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. 

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