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India stands for free and open Indo-Pacific: Defence Minister

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. (File Photo: PTI)

Addressing the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD), the minister said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put forth the idea of ASEAN centrality in the region. “Our common prosperity and security require us to evolve, through dialogue, a common rules-based order."

Singh added that dialogue is the only civilized mechanism to resolve disputes and disagreements, and create regional and global order. “PM Modi said at the G20 Summit that the era of war is over. In the times when humanity is facing problems like climate change, the Covid-19 pandemic and widespread deprivation, it is essential that we all work together to surmount these mammoth challenges without being distracted by the destructive seduction of wars and conflicts."

He said that enhancing trade and connectivity, capacity building and infrastructural initiatives are time-tested ways of working together. They can act as bridges of friendship and ensure mutual benefit.

“It has always been India’s endeavour to work with its partners in constructive engagements in the Indo-Pacific region. The ‘Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative’ launched during the East Asia Summit in 2019. Regional cooperation and participation are important pillars of this initiative, which outlines a regional cooperative structure, focusing on the vision of SAGAR i.e., Security and Growth for All in the Region," the minister added.

He said that the international community should consider security as a truly collective enterprise in order to create a global order which is beneficial to all. “National security should not be considered as a zero-sum game. We should strive to create a win-win situation for all. We should be guided by enlightened self-interest which is sustainable and resilient to shocks. Strong and prosperous India would not be built at the cost of others, rather, we are here to help other nations realize their full potential."

Singh added that India’s belief in a multi-aligned policy was realized through diverse engagements with multiple stakeholders. “Addressing the concerns of all is the only way which can lead to shared responsibility and prosperity. The conduct of strategic policy should be moral. India does not believe in a world order where few are considered superior to others."

The defence minister also released the book published by the National Maritime Foundation (NMF) titled ‘Coastal Security Dimensions of Maritime Security’ on the occasion.


Swati Luthra

Swati Luthra writes on climate change, water, environment and forest issues for Mint. A graduate in Psychology, Swati has been mapping India’s policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at CoP-26 including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
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