US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis will meet his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman
in the Philippines
this week at a conference of ASEAN
defence ministers, the top Pentagon leader said today.
The bilateral meeting between Mattis and Sitharaman would take place on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Defence Ministers' Meeting in the Philippines
that begins today and ends on October 25.
"I will have meetings while I'm in the Philippines
at the ASEAN
meeting with regional counterparts — Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines
of course, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia," Mattis told reporters travelling with him to Philippines.
This would be the first meeting between the two leaders after Mattis' successful trip to India last month.
Mattis said the ASEAN
defence ministers' meeting will be an opportunity to recognise ASEAN
for 50 years of promoting peace and stability in the region.
"They have done a very good job of it. Nations coming of age, many years finding, finding, basically a foundation where they can discuss things," he said.
ASEAN, he said, provides an international
forum, giving voice to those who want relations between states to be based on respect, not on predatory economics or on the size of militaries, in an apparent reference to China.
nations have demonstrated that they can listen to one another, they identify opportunities to increase defence cooperation for their own security, and seek shared solutions to shared concerns," he said, adding that the US remains unambiguously committed to supporting ASEAN.
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