ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus

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    Recently, India has called for an open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations while addressing the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM+) Plus.

    About ADMM Plus

    • It is an annual meeting of Defence Ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and eight dialogue partner countries collectively referred to as the “Plus Countries”.
      • These Plus countries are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States. 
    • Brunei is the Chair of the ADMM Plus forum this year
    • It is a platform to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region. 
    • The inaugural ADMM-Plus was convened in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, on 12th October 2010.
    • Since 2017, the ADMM-Plus meets annually, to allow enhanced dialogue and cooperation among ASEAN and the Plus Countries in the midst of an increasingly challenging regional security environment.
    • Objectives
      • To benefit ASEAN Members in building capacity to address shared security challenges, while cognisant of the differing capacities of various ASEAN Member States.
      • To promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency.
      • To enhance regional peace and stability through cooperation in defence and security, in view of the transnational security challenges the region faces.
      • To contribute to the realisation of an ASEAN Security Community which, as stipulated in the Bali Concord II, embodies ASEAN’s aspiration to achieve peace, stability, democracy and prosperity in the region where ASEAN Member States live at peace with one another and with the world at large.
      • To facilitate the implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme, which calls for ASEAN to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous ASEAN, and to adopt greater outward-looking external relation strategies with our friends and Dialogue Partners.
    • Achievements: The ADMM-Plus has become an effective platform for practical cooperation among the participating countries’ defence establishments.  
    • Conditions for Participants
      • The Plus country shall be a full-fledged Dialogue Partner of ASEAN.
      • The Plus country shall have significant interactions and relations with ASEAN defence establishment.
      • The Plus country shall be able to work with the ADMM to build capacity so as to enhance regional security in a substantive way in order to promote capacity-building in the region in the fields of defence and security.

    Significance

    • Right Structure: It has the right structure, with the work driven by expert working groups (EWGs) that focus on seven different areas of security cooperation, including counter-terrorism, maritime security, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. 
    • Overlapping Memberships: ADMM has overlapping membership with the East Asia Summit (EAS). This offers the possibility that over time it could be linked institutionally with the EAS so that leaders could endorse the work of defense ministers at the ADMM-Plus and direct defense ministers to work on particular issues.
    • Promotes Best Practices: The EWGs are co-chaired by an ASEAN and a Plus country on a rotating basis, and they bring together experts throughout the year to share best practices and plan multilateral exercises that advance interoperability.
    • Military Benefits: The exchange of views and the practical security cooperation that flow from defense ministries’ meetings is particularly valuable in a region that has large and growing militaries and intractable security dilemmas.

     

    India’s Stand on China’s Actions in South China Sea

    • Peaceful Resolutions: India stressed on peaceful resolutions of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws. 
    • Cooperative Engagements: It is strengthening its cooperative engagements in the Indo-Pacific based on converging visions and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. 
    • Use ASEAN-led Mechanisms: Premised upon the centrality of ASEAN, India supports utilisation of ASEAN-led mechanisms as important platforms for implementation of our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific.
    • Freedom of Navigation: India reiterated its support to freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce for all in international waters in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
    • Code of Conduct negotiations: India hopes that the Code of Conduct negotiations will lead to outcomes keeping with international law and do not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that are not party to these discussions
    • Act East Policy: The key elements of the policy aim to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.
    • Combat Terror Financing: Termed terrorism and radicalisation as gravest threats to world peace.
    • Cyber Threats: To deal with cyber threats, a multi-stakeholder approach is required, which is guided by democratic values, with a governance structure that is open and inclusive and a secure, open and stable internet with due respect to sovereignty of countries, that would drive the future of cyberspace. 
    • Combined efforts for Covid-19: Some of the lines of effort that India has suggested for a combined effort:
      • Globally available patent free vaccines.
      • Unhindered supply chains.
      • Greater global medical capacities.
    • Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Operations: India remains one of the first to respond in times of distress in the immediate as well as extended neighbourhood. 
      • As a founding member of the Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM), India seeks to enhance capacity building through collaboration in the areas of Maritime Search & Rescue. 

     

    Benefits for India

    • Culture, Connectivity and Commerce (3Cs): These will shape India’s ties with the ASEAN bloc and will help in bettering the relation at all levels – International, National, State levels.
    • Strengthening Ties: India’s ties with Singapore have been on a rising trend making it a trading hub for India in the East. It will help in deepening the ties further with other ASEAN countries.
    • Maritime Security and Trade: India is surrounded by Indian Ocean and ASEAN Countries have borders with Indo Pacific waters. This opens up a great deal of opportunities for India and other countries to work on maritime security, trade, and better supply chain networks.
    • Checks Chinese Dominance: Maritime cooperation in terms of connectivity, safety and security has gained high attention in the backdrop of China’s advancements in the South China Sea. India will gain better positioning against China’s increasing dominating presence in the area.
    • Other Advantages: This platform can be utilised to combat terror financing, cyber security threats, tax evasions etc.

     

    Way Forward

    • India should increase its bilateral and multilateral engagements with the countries in the Indo-Pacific region.  
    • The renewed focus must be on emerging challenges to international peace and security.
    • There is a need for collective cooperation to fully disrupt terror organisations and their networks, and ensure that strong measures are taken against those who support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists. 

     

    Importance of ASEAN for India

    • ASEAN’s centrality and unity is important in ensuring peace and stability in the region. 
    • India shares a deep connection with ASEAN and has continued its active engagement in many areas contributing to regional peace and stability, particularly through ASEAN led mechanisms, such as:
      • East Asia Summit.
      • ASEAN Regional Forum.
      • ADMM-Plus. 
    • The India-ASEAN strategic partnership has been strengthened by virtue of flourishing cultural and civilisational links and enhanced people-to-people cooperation

    Source: PIB