Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a fervent plea here on Thursday for peaceful resolution of maritime issues and respect for international maritime rules, and called for forming a strong grouping around the Indian Ocean.
In Mauritius, on the second leg of his three-nation visit, he commissioned the Indian-built coastal patrol vessel for the host nation in the presence of its Prime Minister, Anerood Jugnauth, and touched upon the need for cooperation among Indian Ocean countries.
Strong grouping needed
Observing that the world often defined regional groupings around landmass, Mr. Modi said the time had come for a strong grouping around the Indian Ocean.
“We will pursue this with new vigour in the years ahead,” he said adding there could be no better place to host the Indian Ocean Regional Association (IORA) than Mauritius.
Mr. Modi said those who lived in the region had the primary responsibility for peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean.
As China tries to gain a foothold in the Indian Ocean region, Mr. Modi said India recognised that there were other nations with strong interests and stakes in the region.
“We seek a future for Indian Ocean that lives up to the name of ‘SAGAR — Security and Growth for All in the Region’,” he said.
He made a fervent plea for peaceful resolution of maritime issues and respect for international maritime rules in comments that have come against the backdrop of China seeking to exert influence in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.
Mr. Modi added he was pleased that the Secretary-General of the IORA is from India. Currently Ambassador K.V. Bhagirath is the Secretary-General.