NEW DELHI: India’s defence minister Rajnath Singh will meet the defence ministers of ASEAN countries in his upcoming visit to Cambodia during 22-23 November.

A statement from the ministry of defence said that Singh will attend ASEAN Defence Ministers Plus (ADMM Plus) and India-ASEAN defence ministers meeting during his visit. He will also bilateral discussions with defence ministers of the participating countries.

During the talks, the minister will discuss defence cooperation matters and ways to further strengthen the mutually beneficial engagements, it said.

Cambodia, as the chair of ADMM Plus meeting is hosting the 9th annual meeting at Siem Reap, Cambodia and Singh will address the forum on 23 November 2022. He will also call on the prime minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen.

To commemorate 30 years of India-ASEAN relations, India and Cambodia will co-chair the maiden India-ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting on 22 November, presided over by Rajnath Singh. Various initiatives to boost India-ASEAN partnership are planned to be announced during the meeting, according to the official statement.

India became the dialogue partner of ASEAN in 1992 and the inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Hanoi, Vietnam on 12 October 2010. Since 2017, ADMM-Plus Ministers have been meeting annually to further the dialogue and cooperation amongst ASEAN and the Plus countries. India and ASEAN have elevated their relationship to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ in November 2022.

Recently, speaking at the 19th ASEAN-India summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar said that India supports ASEAN-centrality in the evolving regional architecture in the Indo-Pacific region. During the summit, the delegations declared the establishment of the ASEAN-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and reaffirmed the importance of “freedom of navigation and overflight" in the strategically important region.

A joint statement issued on 12 November recognized the importance of “unimpeded lawful maritime commerce" saying that disputes should be resolved by following “universally recognised principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and the relevant standards and recommended practices by the International Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).