Madagascar Minister of Defence, General Richard Rakotonirina
Madagascar Minister of Defence, General Richard Rakotonirina

New Delhi: Madagascar Minister of Defence, General Richard Rakotonirina on Thursday said that India is a major player in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and the neighbouring countries rely on India to play its part in ensuring peace and prosperity in that region.

"India is a major player in the Indian Ocean Region and the neighbouring countries rely on India to playing its part in ensuring peace and prosperity in that region," said General Richard Rakotonirina.

He made the above statement at the IOR Defence Minister's Conclave on the sidelines of Aero India 2021, Asia's largest Aero show held at Bengaluru from February 3 to 5.

Meanwhile, at the Conclave, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh 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 'S' vision - Samman (respect), Samvad (dialogue), Sahyog (cooperation), Shanti (peace), and Samriddhi (prosperity).

Singh also said that India was 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 IOR.

He highlighted initiatives like Project Mausam, Sagarmala and Asia Africa growth corridor which were taken by India to promote trade and tourism among IOR countries.

Emphasising the role of India's humanitarian assistance in the maritime neighbourhood, he said, "India has always been at the forefront of humanitarian assistance, non-combatant evacuation (NEO), and search and rescue (SAR) operations in the maritime neighbourhood. We are proud to have been the first responder in numerous instances of unfortunate natural disaster in the region." Singh also spoke about India's assistance to neighbours during COVID-19 pandemic and said, "In recent COVID-19 pandemic times, op-SAGAR-1 saw us reaching out to our neighbours -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 synergise their efforts to ensure safety and security in the region.

The IOR Conclave is an initiative to promote dialogue in an institutional and cooperative environment that can foster the development of peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean Region.

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