Rajnath Singh and Lloyd Austin discuss centrality of ASEAN in Indo-Pacific

New Delhi, November 16

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin at an event in Jakarta on Thursday where the two discussed the Indo-Pacific yet again and focused on the ‘centrality’ of the 10-nation ASEAN bloc in the scheme of things.

Less than a week ago, the two had met on the sidelines of the Indo-US 2+2 dialogue and had a detailed discussion of laying down the future in the Indo-Pacific

On Thursday, the two were together at the multi-nation ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus).

The Rajnath-Austin meet was a reflection of the vibrant Indo-US defence relationship and excellent personal rapport between Austin and Rajnath.

Austin walked across the conference room to meet Rajnath on the sidelines of ADMM plus meeting.

Both leaders used the opportunity to quickly review the tremendous progress achieved in the India-US defence partnership in recent years.

“They discussed how India and the US could contribute together to ASEAN centrality in the Indo-Pacific.”

They discussed ways to expand the India-US partnership to address emerging challenges and further strengthen the common efforts towards a more secure world.

The two leaders had earlier met in New Delhi on November 10 where they had resolved to advance defence technology cooperation with joint research in emerging areas.

Austin posted on X, “Great to meet today with ASEAN Defence Ministers in Jakarta. One year after the elevation of the US-ASEAN relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, ASEAN remains central to our shared efforts across the Indo-Pacific.”

The ADMM is the highest defence consultative and cooperative mechanism in ASEAN. The ADMM-Plus is a platform for the ASEAN member states (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and its eight Dialogue Partners (India, the US, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand) to strengthen security and defence cooperation.

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