Defence minister Rajnath Singh seeks to boost defence ties with Asean | India News

NEW DELHI: Defence minister Rajnath Singh will discuss measures to boost military ties with his counterparts from Asean countries during his visit to Cambodia this week.
Singh, who w ill be in Cambodia on November 22-23 at the invitation of deputy Prime Minister and defence minister Samdech Pichey Sena Tea Banh, will attend the 9th Asean defence ministers-plus (ADMMPlus) meeting at Si em Reap, an official said on Sunday.
The defence minister is also slated to meet US secretary of defence Lloyd Austin and Australian defence minister Richard Marles on the sidelines of the ADMM-Plus meeting. There is, however, no official word on whether he will also meet his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe.
Indiaand Cambodia will also co-chair the maiden India-Asean defence ministers meeting, which will be presided over by Singh, on November 22. “Various initiatives to boost the IndiaAsean partnership areplanned to be announced during meeting,” he said.
Apart from calling on the Cambodian Prime Minister, the defence minister will also hold bilateral discussions with his counterparts from the Asean countries. “He will discuss defence coope ration matters and ways to further strengthen the mutually beneficial engagements with them,” the official said.
With an eye on China, India has been steadily c ranking up military relationswith Asean countries through combat exercises, exchanges, training programmes and now increasingly weapon supplies over the years.
India, for instance, conducted the SIMBEX naval exercise with Singapore in the Bay of Bengal earlier this month. The Indian Army is also conducting the ‘Agni Warrior’ exercise with Singapore, ‘Harimau Shakti’ with Malaysia and the ‘Garud Shakti’ with Indonesia in the NovemberDecember time-frame.
After inking the $375 million (Rs 2,770 crore) contract to export the 290-km range BrahMos sup ersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines in January this year, India is now looking for more such deals with other Asean countries like Indonesia and Vietnam.
India also plans to sell the indigenous Akash missile systems, which can intercept hostile aircraft, helicopters, drones and subsonic cruise missiles at a range of 25-km, to countries like Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam, among other countries.

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