ASEAN to host defence ministers conference

The ASEAN will invite eight partner countries, including India, to the meet.

Phnom Penh: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will invite eight partner countries, including India, to a regional security meeting of defence ministers scheduled to be held in Hanoi on October 12.

Participation will be limited to the 10 ASEAN member states and eight ASEAN dialogue partners: India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Russia and the United States.

They will discuss cooperation in the areas of humanitarian disaster relief, maritime security, military medicine, counter-terrorism and peacekeeping operation, sources said.

The 18-member forum of defence ministers is expected to meet once every three years, while senior defence officials will meet annually to ensure the implementation of the ministers` decisions.

The association already hosts annually the ASEAN Regional Forum, participated in by foreign ministers of the member nations and 16 countries with a keen interest in Asia-Pacific affairs, such as India, the United States, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, plus the European Union.

North Korea is also a member of the 27-member forum of foreign ministers, which last met in Hanoi last Friday, but it is not included in the October meeting of defence ministers.

ASEAN comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

PTI

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