Antony to raise India's security concerns at Asean summit

The concerns, which emanate primarily from China in the east and Pakistan in the west, is likely to resonate with member nations many of whom also have anxieties over China.
Official sources said that Antony will leave New Delhi on Sunday for a four-day visit to Vietnam to attend the first Asean  Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus at Hanoi.

Despite being originally restricted to Asean members, the forum was expanded last year due to the growing military importance of Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean regions and members’ apprehensions over Beijing’s plans.

The forum hence became ADMM-Plus from ADMM, offering observer status to eight other nations—Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand. South Korea, Russia and the United States—besides 10 of its members.

It seeks to address regional peace and security challenges by providing a balanced and inclusive security architecture for the region  Though Antony will have bilateral discussions with defence ministers of other countries, nothing has been planned with his Chinese counterpart.

The trip to Vietnam comes barely a month after the defence minister’s trip to South Korea and is a sign of India’s attempt to gain diplomatic manoeuvrability in a region where informal-but-powerful groups like “Coffee Club” (Uniting for Consensus) are opposed to India’s entry in the UNSC.

The defence minister will meet his Vietnamese counterpart Gen Phung Quang Thanh. Antony had visited Vietnam in December 2007 on a bilateral visit, which was followed by the visit of the Vietnamese defence minister to India in November 2009.

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