India committed to respecting rights of all nations as laid in UNCLOS: Defence Minister

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was addressing the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue being jointly organised by the Navy and National maritime Foundation.   | Photo Credit: PTI

India is committed to respecting the rights of all nations as laid down in the UN Convention on the Law of Seas (UNCLOS), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday, while reiterating that India is fully determined to protect its legitimate maritime rights and interests.

“We are fully determined to protect the legitimate rights and interests of our country in relation to our territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, while supporting the maintenance of rule-based maritime systems, as mandated under UNCLOS, 1982,” Mr. Singh said while addressing the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue being jointly organised by the Navy and National maritime Foundation.

Stating that while competition over resources had intensified, Mr. Singh said the rise of serious threats such as terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking and climate change had thrown new challenges for the Indo-Pacific region. “The nature of these challenges in the region has considerable trans-national implications, which require a cooperative response. There is, therefore, a need to find convergence of interests and commonality of purpose on maritime issues,” he stated.

There was need to be aware of the evolving nature of competition and contestation in the Indo-Pacific region, said Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, while speaking at the conference. “There is a day-to-day competition for influence, leverage and geostrategic space that is increasingly being witnessed in the Indo-Pacific.”

What we are seeing today was some States applying land-centric territorial mindset to the basic idea of the global commons; attempting to seek greater domination and control, Admiral Singh said. “And, therefore, the increasing challenge to international rules, regulations and reinterpretation of such conventions, which is turning the global commons into contested seas…”

Admiral Singh said as the basic precepts of a maritime Indo-Pacific were challenged, competition in the Indo-Pacific was also becoming more diverse, involving levers of diplomacy, commerce, ideology, values, science and technology — apart from the military. “In sum, Indo-Pacific brings with it attendant and evolving challenges where the rules of the game are changing.”

Stating that the Indian Navy had prioritised certain elements in an effort to play a more constructive and stabilising role in the Indo-Pacific, the Navy Chief outlined them as developing collective maritime competence; being forward-leaning in approach; engaging partner nations to develop interoperability and trust; and focusing on the real problems faced by regional nations on a day-to-day basis.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 4:11:34 AM |

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