Underlining its interest in maintaining peace and stability, freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, India on Thursday asserted at an East Asia Summit meeting that the code of conduct being negotiated for the region should not prejudice the legitimate interests of third parties and be fully consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The assertion made by Secretary (East) Riva Ganguly Das at the East Asia Summit Senior Officials’ Meeting (EAS SOM) via video conference comes amid tensions in the region due to growing Chinese assertiveness in the region.
The meeting discussed ways and means to strengthen the leaders-led EAS platform and to make it more effective and responsive in the face of emerging challenges, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement.
During the meeting, the Secretary (East) also underlined India’s interest in maintaining peace and stability, freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea in keeping with international law.
She also conveyed that the code of conduct for the South China Sea being negotiated should not prejudice the legitimate interests of third parties and should be fully consistent with the UNCLOS, the statement said.
For several years, diplomats from Southeast Asian countries and China have met to discuss the implementation of a “code of conduct” for the South China Sea.
The senior officials at the meeting exchanged views on the current regional and international developments, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic recovery, South China Sea, Korean peninsula, developments in Myanmar and terrorism, the MEA said.
The meeting also reviewed the status of commitments made by participating countries under the EAS framework and the progress in the implementation of the Manila Plan of Action (2018-2022), it said.