India has told a gathering of defence ministers of ASEAN and other partner countries that the interplay of terror groups and the states in its neighbourhood that patronize them as a tool of state policy has worsened the menace of terrorism.
In an indirect reference to the surgical strikes carried out by Indian forces across the border in September 2016, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India would again do so in future to disrupt terror activities.
Addressing the fifth Asean defence ministers meet plus in Singapore on Saturday, Nirmala Sitharaman also reiterated India’s view on Indo-Pacific as an open, balanced region, connected by open and secure seas, integrated by balanced trade and shaped by a rules based order.
Defence Minister Sitharaman stressed upon India’s commitment to a rules based international order that was inclusive and democratic.
Defence Minister also held bilateral discussions with the defence ministers of the USA, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
However, there was no official word on whether Nirmala Sitharaman discussed the issue of any possibility of CAATSA sanctions being imposed on India in the wake of its purchase of S-400 Triumf missile system with James Mattis in Singapore or not.
Nirmala Sitharaman also held separate meetings with defence ministers of Russia, China, Thailand, Lao PDR, and Myanmar.
She also had meetings with the deputy Prime Minister of Singapore Teo Chee Hean and the country’s defence minister of Singapore Ng Eng Hen.