New Delhi: The maiden India-ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting was held today at Siem Reap, Cambodia to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of India-ASEAN relations in 2022, which has also been designated as ‘ASEAN-India Friendship Year’. The meeting was co-chaired by Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence of Cambodia General Tea Banh. It preceded the 9th ASEAN-Defence Ministers Meeting’ (ADMM) Plus scheduled to take place tomorrow.
Rajnath Singh emphasised that the centrality of ASEAN in the Indo- Pacific region is the cornerstone of India’s Act East Policy. During this maiden India-ASEAN Defence Ministers meeting, Shri Singh proposed two major initiatives for further expanding the scope and the depth of the India-ASEAN defence relations. One of the initiatives proposed by Raksha Mantri was the ‘India-ASEAN Initiative for Women in UN Peace Keeping Operations’ which includes conduct of tailor-made courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN Member States at the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping in India and conduct of a ‘Table Top Exercise’ in India for women officers from ASEAN incorporating facets of UN peacekeeping challenges. The Raksha Mantri underlined the importance of women officers in peacekeeping missions for ensuring lasting peace.
The Raksha Mantri also conveyed India’s continued advocacy for a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific while also suggesting the need for India and ASEAN to work together for maritime security in the region. He expressed satisfaction towards ASEAN’s support for the first India-ASEAN maritime exercise planned to be conducted in May next year. In conclusion, the forum recognised the importance of the India-ASEAN ties for ensuring peace and stability in the region.