Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman attended the 5th ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting, ADMM Plus in Singapore, which is a forum for Defence Ministers from ten ASEAN and eight ASEAN Plus countries. The theme of this year's dialogue was 'Strengthening Cooperation, Building Resilience'. The dialogue adopted two resolutions on 'Countering the Threat of Terrorism' and 'Practical Confidence Building Measures'.
Speaking on the occasion, Raksha Mantri Smt Sitharaman emphasised India's concern on the grave challenges to international peace and stability due to the threat of terrorism. Condemning the use of terror as an instrument to further state policies, Raksha Mantri conveyed that the interplay between states and non-state actors used as proxies to foment violence had worsened this menace.
She also highlighted that the continued presence of terrorist infrastructure and support to terrorists in the immediate neighbourhood constantly tested India's patience. As a responsible power, great restraint was being exercised by India in dealing with this menace. However, India had exhibited measures to disrupt and deter the activities of terrorist groups and their patrons and would not hesitate to do so again if required in future.
Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman reiterated India's view on Indo-Pacific, as outlined by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, as an open, balanced region, connected by open and secure seas, integrated by balanced trade and shaped by rules based order, anchored in ASEAN centrality and conveyed India's commitment to maintain a sustained focus of its 'Act East' policy in terms of economic, cultural and developmental engagement of the region.
Complimenting the ADMM Plus for emerging as a credible and effective platform forging practical cooperation among the members of the armed forces, Raksha Mantri informed the partners of India's active participation in all the ADMM Plus mechanism contributing effectively to their success. India and Myanmar are the co-chairs for the Expert Working Group for Military Medicine for this cycle and a stand-alone Field Training Exercise on Military Medicine will be held in Lucknow in March 2019 along with the release of ASEAN Military Medicine Handbook.
Raksha Mantri Smt Sitharaman emphasised India's commitment to a rules based international order that was inclusive and democratic. She reiterated India's desire to work both bilaterally as well as institutionally with ASEAN member states and welcomed Thailand's taking over the chairmanship of the ADMM Plus.
On the side-lines of the ADMM Plus meeting, Raksha Mantri also held constructive bilateral discussions with the Defence Minister of the USA, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. She also held meeting with the Defence Ministers of Russia, China, Thailand, Lao PDR and Myanmar. Discussions were also held with the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Teo Chee Hean and Defence Minister, Dr Ng Eng Hen.