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Need to avoid actions that could complicate the situation: Rajnath Singh | India News

NEW DELHI: In a veiled reference to China’s aggressive military behavior, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said Thursday that exercising self-restraint in conducting activities and avoiding actions that may further complicate the situation will go a long way toward achieving a sustained peace in the region.
He spoke at the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), a platform comprising 10-nation ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and its eight dialogue partners, including India and China.
Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe was among those who attended the virtual meeting, officials said.
In his speech, Singh spoke about “the current regional environment with visible tensions” and valued the central role of ASEAN-led forums, including ADMM-Plus, in promoting dialogue and commitment towards a pluralistic and cooperative security order. in Asia.
“As we strengthen mutual trust and security, exercising restraint in conducting activities and avoiding actions that may further complicate the situation will go a long way toward achieving sustained peace in the region,” he said.
Singh’s comments came amid the seven-month-long military confrontation between India and China in eastern Ladakh and Beijing’s increasingly expansionary behavior in the South China Sea and the Indo-Pacific.
The defense minister also said that the group’s ability to collectively respond to challenges based on the foundations of freedom, inclusion and openness in the region will define its future.
“Threats to rules-based order, maritime security, cybercrime and terrorism, just to name a few, remain challenges that we must address as a forum,” Singh said at the virtual meeting.
The defense minister also spoke on the Indo-Pacific outlook, saying it underscores the impetus to cultivate strategic trust and continuously promote ASEAN’s centrality in regional architecture.
“The concepts of ‘vasudhaive kutumbakam’ – ‘the whole world is one family’ and ‘sarve bhavantu sukhinah’ – ‘all be in peace’ are at the core of Indian civilization. Hence, inclusion, equality and openness are the principles that underline this concept, “he said.
The defense minister also called for sustained efforts to address threats from bioterrorism, transnational trafficking, and pandemics, emphasizing capacity building to address shared security challenges.
“Our composition is another pillar of our strength, as it includes defense ministries from 18 key countries that are the main stakeholders in regional security dynamics,” he said.
In his speech, Singh also underscored the need to address the challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Among the new challenges that have emerged, Covid-19 has changed the world and left us many obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately, the disruptive effect of the pandemic is still unfolding,” said the defense minister.
“The challenge is therefore to make sure that the world economy moves on the path of recovery and, when it does, to make sure that the recovery leaves no one behind,” he added.
The inaugural ADMM-Plus was held in Hanoi in 2010. Defense ministers then agreed on five areas of practical cooperation to follow under the new mechanism, including maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and operations of peace-keeping.
Ties between India and ASEAN have improved in recent years, concentrating on increasing cooperation in the areas of trade and investment, as well as security and defense.
In addition to the 10 ASEAN countries, ADMM-Plus includes Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Russia, and the United States.

Times of India