Antony to attend ASEAN defence summit

New Delhi, Oct 8, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) As part of India’s ‘look east policy‘, Defence Minister A.K. Antony will be in Vietnam from Sunday to attend the defence summit of a regional bloc, ASEAN, an official said Friday.

The ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM)-Plus will be held in Hanoi next week. India and seven non-ASEAN countries – Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the US – were given membership in the ADMM-Plus forum that also comprises of 10 South East Asian countries.

A.K. Antony during his four-day visit will be accompanied by a high-level delegation, including Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar and representatives of the armed forces.

‘We view our participation in the ADMM-Plus deliberations as an aspect of our look east policy and the larger objective of our integration with the region,’ the official said.

ADMM-Plus seeks to address regional peace and security challenges by providing inclusive security architecture for the region as a whole and provide opportunities to build mutual trust and confidence among the defence establishments of the ASEAN and the plus countries.

Antony will also have bilateral meetings with the defence ministers of other countries.

‘His visit to Vietnam will also be an opportunity for a series of bilateral meetings with the Vietnamese defence minister Gen Phung Quang Thanh and other Vietnamese leaders for discussions on issues of mutual interest,’ the official said.

Antony had toured Vietnam in December 2007 on a bilateral visit. This was followed by the visit of his Vietnamese counterpart to India in November 2009.

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