India stands for free and rules based Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh | The Financial Express

India stands for free and rules based Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh

Stressing the need to use capacity building, connectivity, enhancing trade and infrastructural initiatives, the minister said these are time tested and ensure mutual benefit.

India stands for free and rules based Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh
Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh delivering the keynote address at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue in New Delhi on November 25, 2022.

India once again reiterated that it stands for free and rules-based Indo-Pacific as this is important for the economic development of not only the region but for the wider global community.

In his keynote address at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue on November 25 in New Delhi, defence Minister Rajnath Singh stressed that for resolving disputes and disagreements and for creating regional world order, dialogue is the only civilised mechanism.

In his address he also quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message during G20 Bali Summit that “ the era of war is over’’, which was also mentioned in the G20 communiqué adopted at the summit by the world leaders.

A book published by National Maritime Foundation (NMF) titled ‘Coastal Security Dimensions of Maritime Security’ was also released by the minister.

India & Indo Pacific

Shedding light on the ‘Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative’ which was launched during the East Asia Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand in November 2019, the minister stated that regional cooperation and participation are critical pillars of this. As these focus on the vision of SAGAR and regional cooperative structure. He also stated that India is always willing to engage with its partners in a constructive way in the Indo-Pacific Region.

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Stressing the need to use capacity building, connectivity, enhancing trade and infrastructural initiatives, the minister said these are time tested and ensure mutual benefit.

He also touched upon the initiatives announced during the recently concluded India-ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting which took place in Cambodia. For a humane approach India during the meeting had proposed the ASEAN-India Initiative for women in UN Peacekeeping Operations, as this would help in effective conflict resolution and lasting peace. On Marine Plastic Pollution Response, India has proposed ASEAN-India Initiative.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh releasing a book, published by the National Maritime Foundation, titled ‘Coastal Security Dimensions of Maritime Security’ during the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue in New Delhi on November 25, 2022.

He also asserted that India does not believe in a world order where few are considered superior to others and once again reiterated that multi-aligned policy is the only way to shared prosperity. Highlighting that India’s actions are guided by the very essence of human equality and dignity, “Realpolitik cannot be the fig leaf for being immoral or amoral.”

In his address the minister said that forging relations comes naturally to India as “we work towards mutual economic development.’’ And urged that all should work together to look for solutions to problems like climate change & and terrorism that transcend national boundaries. Adding that the global community has been working together through different platforms like the UNSC and that there is a need to elevate the paradigm of collective security towards shared interests and security for all.

Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar in his remarks at the end of the Dialogue talked about the threats and challenges to the country’s maritime security and reaffirmed the Navy’s resolve in preserving maritime interests.

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India-France & Indo Pacific

Speaking at the Dialogue, visiting Rear Admiral Jean-Mathieu Rey, Head of International Relations, French Navy, highlighted his country’s direct stakes in the region. He also outlined the French strategy for promoting prosperity, peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific with key partners like India.

The visiting officer urged the navies of Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries to further increase their cooperation under multilateral bodies, like the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) which is being chaired by France this year, and also the India-led Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI). In his address for the common good, he asked them all to strengthen their interoperability for the common good.

As the current chair of IONS in view of the manifold challenges in the region, he said that France is keen to intensify dialogue with all like-minded partners, and to operationalize our joint initiatives. He highlighted the success of the IMEX 22 naval exercise which was organised jointly by France and India off the coast of Goa earlier this year in March. In this naval exercise the navies of several IONS countries participated and the theme was Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.

“We see the Indian Navy as a key net security provider in the region,” said Rear Admiral Rey.

India-France Maritime Cooperation

Rear Admiral Rey has also visited the Information Fusion Center – Indian Ocean Region (IOR). As has been reported earlier, France was the very first foreign partner to post a liaison officer. Both countries are sharing maritime information which helps the two sides in deeper maritime domain awareness and also the capacity to ensure maritime security in the region.

More about IPRD

It is an annual international outreach programme of the Indian Navy and it seeks to foster exchange of ideas and to also promote discussions on maritime issues which are relevant to the Indo-Pacific Region. For India this region stretches over a huge maritime expanse starting from the eastern shore of Africa to the western shore of the Americas.

The three days programme which concluded today had participation besides senior officials from the Indian Armed forces; there were representatives of various ministries like Shipping, Environment, Forest and Climate change. Other stakeholders from the industry, diplomats from various missions in India, as well as over 2000 uniformed personnel and veterans. The event was organised by the National Maritime Foundation.

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First published on: 25-11-2022 at 15:25 IST