New Delhi (NVI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today met his US counterpart Mark T Esper in Bankok and during the conversation conveyed India’s vision for a free and open, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region supported by rule-based order and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Singh emphasised that the 19-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is central to India’s vision of Indo-Pacific region.
“Raksha Mantri conveyed that there is growing convergence between India and USA in the Indo-Pacific region and India’s vision is for Indo-Pacific is for a free & open, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive region supported by a rules based order and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. ASEAN is central to India’s vision of Indo-Pacific,” a Defence Ministry statement said.
India’s emphasis on “free and open, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region supported by rule-based order and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity” assumes significance against the backdrop of China’s military assertiveness in South China Sea over which it lays absolute right.
During the meeting between Singh and Esper, it was noted that the two countries are working together in the areas of maritime security including elements such as joint exercises, HADR operations and maritime domain awareness, the statement said.
“Expressing happiness on the growing relationship between India and USA, Raksha Mantri conveyed that the bilateral cooperation between the two sides has grown across a wide range of sectors including Defence and Security, Economy, Energy, Counter Terrorism and People to People ties,” the statement said.
The two Ministers also had discussions on a number of other issues concerning regional security and bilateral defence cooperation.
The meeting ended on a positive note and Raksha Mantri looked forward to have substantial discussions during the forthcoming 2+2 dialogue in Washington later next month, it said.