India stands for rule-based order in Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh at regional security meet

By Outlook

Flagging India”s concerns over security challenges in the maritime sphere, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday called for a rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific and underlined the need for ensuring freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce in the international waterways including the South China Sea.

In a virtual address at the ASEAN Defence Ministers” Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), Singh said the developments in the South China Sea have attracted attention in the region and beyond, seen as an oblique reference to China”s aggressive behaviour in the critical sea lanes.

The defence minister also said that terrorism and radicalisation are the gravest threats to global peace and security and pitched for collective efforts to fully disrupt the terrorist organisations and their networks.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform comprising 10-nation ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) and its eight dialogue partners — India, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States.

Referring to the challenges in the maritime domain, Singh said India stood for a rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific based on respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws.

He said India hoped that the code of conduct negotiations will lead to outcomes that are in keeping with international law, including the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and will not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that are not party to these discussions.

Without naming China or any other country, Singh said new challenges to international peace and security are emerging and they cannot be addressed with outdated systems that were designed to deal with “trials of the past”.

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