Speaking at a defence summit organised by a private media organisation in New Delhi, he termed ‘giving priority to long-termism and long-term gains’ as the main difference between the present government and the previous dispensations.
Observing that conflicts extract a terrible toll in terms of human lives and livelihoods, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday reaffirmed India’s message to the world at large that “this is not an era of war” and called for giving up the “us versus them” mindset.
Addressing the 10th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Jakarta, he underlined the importance of dialogue and diplomacy to ensure global peace and stability.
In the backdrop of China’s aggressive posturing on maritime issues, Rajnath reiterated India’s commitment to freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in the international waters in accordance with international laws, including United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982.
The Defence Minister called for regional security initiatives that are consultative and development-oriented to reflect the larger consensus among various stakeholders. He reiterated India’s commitment to nurturing practical, forward-looking and result-oriented cooperation with ADMM-Plus for enhancing maritime security in the region.
Highlighting that conflicts disturb stability at regional as well as global level and have adverse implications for food security, energy security, etc, Rajnath reiterated India’s commitment to work with ASEAN and Plus countries to ensure peace, prosperity and security, which is an apt theme for this year’s ADMM-Plus. He cited Mahatma Gandhi’s famous quote on peace “there is no way to peace, peace is the only way”.
Recognising that terrorism is a serious threat to international peace and security, including in the ASEAN region, India proposed at the meeting to co-chair an Expert Working Group (EWG) on counter-terrorism. This proposal was endorsed by ADMM-Plus as terrorism remains a serious concern to countries in the region.