Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will hold a meeting of his colleagues from countries in the Indian Ocean region on Thursday to enhance India’s role as India’s defense partner and to safeguard markets for defense hardware manufactured in India.
Apart from the Aero-India event in Bangalore, a one-day meeting of Indian Ocean defense ministers is being held.
According to the Ministry of Defense, 18 of the 28 countries invited have their representatives represented at the meeting by embassies in India or by video link.
The four countries – Maldives, Comoros, Iran and Madagascar – will be represented at the ministerial level, while Australia, Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius, Kuwait and Myanmar will be represented by ambassadors and high commissioners in New Delhi, the Indian defense ministry said.
“India is geographically centered in the Indian Ocean, and India’s vision for the security and development of 7,500 km (Sagar), as expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cannot be realized without close cooperation and involvement between countries in the Indian Ocean region (IOR),” the ministry said in a statement. In the epidemic year of 2020, India is at the forefront of organizing an international platform for global space and defense (A&T) leaders to exchange views and forge partnerships in coordinating efforts in the A&T sector, ”it said.
The meeting was “an attempt to promote dialogue in an institutional, economic and cooperative environment that can promote the development of peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region,” a ministry official said.
It discusses aspects of the defense sector – cooperation between participating countries, sharing of resources available in Indian defense shipyards for design and shipbuilding, and increased access to Indian ports, marine surveillance and cooperation with allies, maritime surveillance and cooperation, disaster response, and use of marine resources. Developing technologies, ”the official said.
Speaking at the opening of the Aero India event on Wednesday, Singh said India wanted to be a “reliable partner for allies” and that India’s interests were beyond its shores.
India regards the Indian Ocean region as its zone of influence and provides assistance to countries in the region – providing relief during disasters such as oil spills and hurricanes, providing hydrographic surveys and providing patrol boats to countries to protect their special economic zones.