NEW DELHI: India will host the defence ministers of the countries of the Indian Ocean Region at a conclave during upcoming Aero India in Bengaluru, officials said on Friday.
India is organising the conclave in the backdrop of growing Chinese military assertiveness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
"Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is hosting the IOR defence ministers' conclave on February 4. It will be held during the Aero India 2021," said an official.
The conclave is being organised as part of an initiative to promote dialogue in an institutional and cooperative environment that can foster peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region, the official said.
"The broad theme of the conclave will be 'Enhanced Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Indian Ocean'. The conclave would address aspects related to synergising the resources and efforts in the Indian Ocean," the official said.
"The IOR conclave is an effort towards India's commitment and continued engagement in the Indian Ocean both for defence diplomacy as also for economic prosperity through sustained engagement, dialogue, experience sharing and exchange of best practices," he said.
The conclave is also taking place at a time Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a bitter standoff in eastern Ladakh for the last eight months.
In sync with the national security doctrine, the Indian Navy has significantly increased its deployment of warships, submarines and other assets in the Indian Ocean Region, in an attempt to send across a message to China.
The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical for India's strategic interests.
China has been making concerted efforts to increase its presence in the region.
The next edition of Aero India, considered Asia's largest aerospace exhibition, will be held in its traditional venue of Bengaluru from February 3-5.