Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday reiterated India’s stand for a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific while speaking at the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) 2021. Rajnath, in his online address, made it clear that maritime security is an area of concern to India and developments in the South China Sea have attracted attention in the region and beyond.
Rajnath said, “India calls for a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific, based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws.”
He spoke broadly about the present regional and international security environment and noted that new challenges to international peace and security are emerging. The Indo-Pacific is a term used to describe the region comprised of the countries around the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
“Maritime security challenges are another area of concern to India. The sea lanes of communication are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development of the Indo-Pacific region. In this regard, developments in the South China Sea have attracted attention in the region and beyond. India supports freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce in these international waterways,” said the Defence Minister.
He stressed the need to understand each other and respect individual views while striving together “towards a common goal in the evolving security environment.”