Home / News / World /  Centrality of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific region is the cornerstone of India’s Act East Policy: Rajnath

NEW DELHI : The centrality of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific region is the cornerstone of India’s Act East Policy, said Union Defence Minister, Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.

Addressing the India-ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Cambodia, the minister said that India shares historic and robust ties with the ASEAN countries. During the meeting, Singh proposed two initiatives to expand the scope and the depth of the India-ASEAN defence relations.

“One of the initiatives was the ‘India-ASEAN Initiative for Women in UN Peace Keeping Operations’ which includes conduct of tailor-made courses for women peacekeepers of ASEAN Member States at the Centre for United Nations Peacekeeping in India and conduct of a ‘Table Top Exercise’ in India for women officers from ASEAN incorporating facets of UN peacekeeping challenges," said the ministry of Defence.

The second initiative announced by the minister was ‘India-ASEAN Initiative on Marine Plastic Pollution’. “It includes channelizing of the energy of the youth towards addressing the critical issue of marine pollution," the ministry added.

Singh said that NCC did significant work in cleaning Indian beaches and raising awareness about plastic pollution in the coastal community. “Coordination between the NCC and the equivalent youth organizations of ASEAN countries will help with the collective effort in this direction in the region."

The minister added that the establishment of an India-ASEAN Marine Pollution Response Centre at Chennai by the Indian Coast Guard will aid in addressing and supplementing regional efforts to deal with marine pollution incidents.

“India continues advocacy for a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific. There is a need for India and ASEAN to work together for maritime security in the region," he said.

The meeting was held to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of India-ASEAN relations in 2022, which has also been designated as ‘ASEAN-India Friendship Year’. India-ASEAN relationship was elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the ASEAN-India Summit held in Cambodia on 12 November, 2022.

The meeting was co-chaired by Rajnath Singh and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence of Cambodia General Tea Banh.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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