India, on Monday, affirmed “strong commitment” to the “new initiative” of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) for “peace and stability” in the Asia-Pacific region.

The initiative, with no formal name yet, is the creation of the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus (ADMM+) forum that brings together all the 10 southeast Asian countries and their key dialogue partners — Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, and the United States.

Defence Minister A.K. Antony, now in Hanoi to attend the first-ever conference of this forum, expressed the view that the ADMM+ process could “contribute to the evolution of a new security architecture in the region.”

He made these comments during meetings with his counterparts from several participating countries ahead of the formal conference scheduled for Tuesday. Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and India's Ambassador to Vietnam, Ranjit Rae, assisted the Minister.

“Inclusive”

Mr. Antony commended the “inclusive” nature of the new initiative and noted that the ADMM+ process should be carried forward at a pace at which all participants could feel comfortable, according to sources.

Vietnam, as the host, pressed for “non-traditional security” while drawing up the agenda for the first ADMM+ conference. The other areas of proposed cooperation are maritime security, military medicine, counter-terrorism, international peace-keeping operations, and non-lethal military logistics and deployments for disaster relief and rehabilitation.

A flurry of bilateral meetings, including those that China held with the U.S. and Japan on parallel tracks, attracted much attention.

Keywords: Asean