Jitendra Singh to attend Brunei meeting of defence ministers

New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh will lead the Indian delegation at the second ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting (Plus) (ADMM Plus) at Brunei beginning Wednesday, which will discuss security issues and measures to promote cooperation among defence establishments, an official release said.

Officials sources said Defence Minister A. K. Antony was to lead the Indian delegation but had decided to pull out in view of the monsoon session of parliament which crucial bills such as the one of land acquisition is still pending.

Antony also heads a committee to hear concerns arising out of the decision to carve out a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh.

According to an official release, Jitendra Singh will be accompanied by Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, Lt.Gen. Anil Chait and other officials from the services and ministries of defence and external affairs for the two day meeting.

India is a member of the ADMM Plus, which is a forum of tdefence ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and eight non-ASEAN countries.

The second ADMM Plus meeting is being held three years after the inaugural meeting at Hanoi in October 2010.

ADMM Plus is aimed at fostering cooperation between the member countries to promote peace and stability and address common security challenges.

It also seeks to enhance mutual trust and confidence between the defence establishments of member countries through dialogue and exchanges.

The release said a number of practical cooperation initiatives have been implemented in the last three years under the ADMM Plus format through five Expert Working Groups (on Maritime Security, Counter Terrorism, Peace Keeping Operations, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Military Medicine).

A joint declaration is expected to be issued at the end of Brunei meeting.