New Delhi, Nov 17: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held talks with US Defence Secretary Mark T Esper in Bangkok on Sunday on a range of issues of strategic importance including situation in the Indo-Pacific region and ways to further bolster bilateral security cooperation.
The meeting took place on the sidelines of the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), a platform comprising ASEAN and its eight dialogue partners including India, officials said. The defence minister also held a separate meeting with his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono with a focus on adding further momentum to bilateral defence cooperation.
In the meeting with Esper, Singh reaffirmed New Delhi's vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on a rules-based order and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity. China has been fast expanding military and economic influence in the Indo-Pacific region, triggering concern in various countries of the region and beyond. Singh said there has been a growing convergence between India and the US on the Indo-Pacific, adding the 10-member grouping of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is central to New Delhi's vision for the region.