In the face of growing international concern about China's increasingly aggressive military muscle-flexing in the region, India's policy for the Indo-Pacific is geared towards respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations, Army Chief General Manoj Pande said on Tuesday. He also mentioned that coming together of countries can promote further peace and healthy politics.
In an address at a conclave of army chiefs of Indo-Pacific nations in Delhi, Gen Pande also said that India's commitment towards positively engaging all stakeholders in the region has been unwavering and enduring.
India's vision for Indo-Pacific emphasises peaceful resolution of disputes, avoidance of use of force, and adherence to international laws, he said.
"While efforts by countries are converging towards a free Indo-Pacific, yet we are witnessing manifestations of interstate contestations and competitions," the Army chief added.
The Army chief further noted that "challenges we face transcend across borders and our response to them must factor in this".
Emphasising the importance of the Indo-Pacific, Gen Pande said the region is not merely a collection of nations but it is a web of interdependencies.
"We are aiming to build trust and strengthen cooperation," he said.
VIDEO | "This symposium serves as a shining example of what can be achieved when nations come together with a common purpose," says Army Chief General Manoj Pande at the Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs' Conference (IPACC) in Delhi. pic.twitter.com/5lmqQpSHUi— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) September 26, 2023
What did Union Minister Rajnath Singh say?
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also addressed the conclave where he stated, "The Indo-Pacific region has emerged as a pivotal geopolitical and strategic concept in the recent years, transforming from a primarily maritime concept into a comprehensive strategic framework."
Further, the minister said, "The (Indo-Pacific) region faces a complex web of security challenges, including boundary disputes, piracy etc. The need to comprehensively deal with these security challenges has led to the full involvement of the states in the region, with all their organisations, including their Armies."
Representatives from other countries
Amid the ongoing diplomatic row between India and Canada, Major General Peter Scott, Deputy Commander of the Canadian Army spoke to the reporters on the sidelines of the conclave where he said, "That's a political issue and we will let the political masters deal with that. The Armies (of both countries) will focus on learning from each other and finding opportunities to train and exercise together."
VIDEO | "That's a political issue and we will let the political masters deal with that. The Armies (of both countries) will focus on learning from each other and finding opportunities to train and exercise together," says Major General Peter Scott, Deputy Commander of the… pic.twitter.com/w4ZEDU1tWT— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) September 26, 2023
US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti who attended the conclave told PTI, "We want free open seas without piracy or without the control of any country. Secondly, we want to make sure that people respect the rule of law and thirdly, we want prosperity and more trade. And we also want to make sure that our Armies, should there be a conflict, know each other, trust each other, and can operate with each other."
US Army's Chief of Staff General Randy George in his address said, "We do face a challenging strategic environment, but this is nothing new. We have overcome challenges in the past, and we will overcome them together in the future."