Bangkok: India’s Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh is here to attend the 6th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) and he used that occasion today to talk improved defence ties with Thailand, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, apart from his earlier meeting with the US defense secretary Dr Mark T. Esper.
On the sidelines of ADMM-Plus, Rajnath Singh held bilateral meetings Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand General Prawit Wongsuwan, Defence Minister of Japan Taro Kono, Defence Minister of Australia Linda Reynolds and Defence Minister of New Zealand Ron Mark.
In the deliberations, Rajnath Singh reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral defence relations with the respective leaders of the four nations and discussed ways to further improving the miltary-to-military ties.
In his meeting with General Prawit Wongsuwan, the Indian defence minister discussed wide-range of issues pertaining to bilateral relations between India and Thailand. Rajnath Singh complimented the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand for the successful conduct of activities during the year as the chair of ADMM-Plus and ASEAN for 2019. He also apprised General Prawit Wongsuwan about the ‘Act East’ policy of the Indian government and the centrality of ASEAN in the Indo-Pacific policy.
Rajnath Singh’s meeting with the Taro Kono was his first with the Japanese defence minister. Both the leaders will meet again in New Delhi for the 2+2 meeting between India and Japan scheduled later this month. The two leaders had a detailed discussion on adding further momentum to India-Japan defence cooperation. They expressed satisfaction over the defence engagements and exercises between their armed forces.
The Indian defence minister met his counterparts from Australia and New Zealand and discussed the ongoing defence cooperation and potential areas for enhanced engagement. The Australia Defence Minister is likely to visit New Delhi early next year during the Raisina Dialogue event.