AKIPRESS.COM - Defense Minister India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said that the country is ready to supply various types of missile systems, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) and other weapons systems including missiles, helicopters, tanks and artillery guns to friendly foreign countries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), The Singapore Post reported.
“India is ready to supply various types of missile systems, LCA/helicopters, multi-purpose light transport aircraft, warship and patrol vessels, artillery gun systems, tanks, radars, military vehicles, electronic warfare systems and other weapons systems to IOR nations,” Rajnath Singh said at IOR Defense Ministers’ Conclave on the sidelines of Aero India – 2021, held in Bengaluru on February 4.
The statement comes at a time when India is trying to boost the domestic defense manufacturing industry. The Defense Minister further emphasized India’s role in humanitarian assistance in the maritime neighborhood and said, “India has always been at the forefront of humanitarian assistance, non-combatant evacuation (NEO), and search and rescue (SAR) operations in the maritime neighborhood. We are proud to have been the first responder in numerous instances of unfortunate natural disaster in the region.”
“Due to its geostrategic location in the IOR, maritime character, India has enjoyed historical and cultural ties with the littoral states. India has been at the forefront of a regional cooperation initiative of the Indian Ocean Rim countries,” he added.
75 per cent of global trade and 50 per cent of daily global transfers already pass through the region. Uninterrupted access to the open seas and respect for the international law was essential for stability and security in the region, the minister said.
He also added that “in order to ensure collective growth and prosperity, it is imperative that we build competence in the maritime domain, on a collective basis”.
Singh also spoke about India’s assistance to neighbors during COVID-19 pandemic. “In recent COVID-19 pandemic times, op-SAGAR-1 saw us reaching out to our neighbors - Mauritius, Maldives, Madagascar, Seychelles and Comoros and assist them with medical teams, medicines such as HCQ, Remdesivir and paracetamol tablets, as well as other medical supplies.”
He added that all IOR countries take economy, trade, naval cooperation and collaboration to the higher level in order to synergize their efforts to ensure safety and security in the region. The minister also pointed out that India’s approach and vision to tackle the global challenge in IOR is highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dynamic five visions – respect, dialogue, cooperation, peace, and prosperity.
Madagascar Minister of Defense, General Richard Rakotonirina while speaking at the conclave said that India is a major player in the Indian Ocean Region and the neighboring countries rely on India to play its part in ensuring peace and prosperity in that region. While 28 nations were invited for the conclave, 26 of them attended it either physically or in virtual mode, with defense ministers, ambassadors or other officials representing them.