China-ASEAN talks on SCS code of conduct: Rajnath hopes of positive outcome

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addressing the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Plus Meeting (ADMM-PLUS) on WEdnesday. Photo:  

India hoped that the code of conduct for South China Sea (SCS), being negotiated between the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, would lead to outcomes in line with international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and did not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that were not party to these discussions, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday.

“Maritime security challenges are another area of concern to India. The sea lanes of communication are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development of the Indo-Pacific region. In this regard, developments in the South China Sea have attracted attention in the region and beyond,” he said at the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Plus Meeting. “India supports freedom of navigation, over flight, and unimpeded commerce in these international waterways,” he pointed out.

China and ASEAN have set a target of end-2021 to finalise the code of conduct but recently officials had said it may not be concluded by then.

Mr. Singh reiterated India’s call for a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific, based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws. “Premised upon the centrality of ASEAN, India supports utilisation of ASEAN-led mechanisms as important platforms for implementation of our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific,” he observed.

Collective cooperation

Mr. Singh noted that terrorism and radicalisation were the gravest threats to peace and security that the world was facing today. In an era when networking amongst terrorists was “reaching alarming proportions,” only through collective cooperation could the terror organisations and their networks be fully disrupted, the perpetrators identified and held accountable. Strong measures should be undertaken against those who encourage, support and finance terrorism and provide sanctuary to terrorists, he asserted.

Mr, Singh expressed concern at cyberthreats like ransomware, Wannacry attacks and cryptocurrency thefts and called for a multi-stakeholder approach, guided by democratic values, with a governance structure that was “open and inclusive and a secure, open and stable internet with due respect to sovereignty of countries, would drive the future of cyberspace.”

Talking of new challenges to international peace and security, he said, “The multitude of challenges of today’s dynamic and interdependent world cannot be addressed with outdated systems that were designed to deal with trials of the past.”

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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 6:30:30 PM |

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