Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Thursday said stability in the Indo-Pacific region is essential and India has “no extra-territorial ambitions”. A conducive external and internal security environment is what the country seeks to ensure unhindered economic progress and socio-political development, he said.
“Our security policy flows from two basic cardinals. That is, we have no extra-territorial ambitions and we have no desire to transplant our ideologies on others,” Gen Rawat.
Rawat was speaking at a seminar on ‘Evolving Geo-Politics of the Indo-Pacific Region-Challenges and Prospects’ in the capital.
“Our aim is to ensure a conducive external and internal security environment for unhindered economic progress and socio-political development. Thus, stability in the Indo-Pacific region is essential,” the Army Chief said.
Rawat said that within the Indo-Pacific, the Indian Ocean Region remains India’s primary focus. And India is committed to strengthening the rules-based order in Indo-Pacific.
Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, Search and Rescue (SAR) missions, protection of vital Sea Lanes of Communication, and robust defence of India’s island territories are major aspects on which the Army is investing in capability development towards tri-services efforts, he said.
Also addressing the event, Australian High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said if invited, Australia was willing to join the Malabar Exercise.
“It makes sense for Australia to exercise with whom we work closely in Indian and Pacific Oceans,” Sidhu said.
“While India has always been an important partner for Australia, our strategic partnership has been stronger than it has ever been. But with shared interest, our strengths as a country and strategic location in the Indo-Pacific, Australia should also be considered in the top ranks of India’s partnerships.
“To do that we need to work to take the relationship to the next level. To cement our burgeoning military ties, it makes sense for India and Australia to agree on a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement between our militaries,” she added.
(With PTI inputs)