5 principles needed for global maritime security, says PM Modi as he chairs UNSC meet | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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5 principles needed for global maritime security, says PM Modi as he chairs UNSC meet

Aug 09, 2021 10:12 PM IST

The principles are removing barriers from legitimate maritime trade, encouraging responsible maritime connectivity, settling maritime disputes through peaceful means and on the basis of international law, jointly facing natural disasters and maritime threats created by non-state actors, and preserving the maritime environment and resources.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday proposed five principles to ensure global maritime security, including responsible connectivity and peaceful resolution of disputes, as he chaired a UN Security Council debate that was joined by Russian President Vladimir Putin and US secretary of state Antony Blinken.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at UNSC Open Debate on 'Enhancing Maritime Security: A Case For International Cooperation', in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI PHOTO.)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at UNSC Open Debate on 'Enhancing Maritime Security: A Case For International Cooperation', in New Delhi on Monday. (ANI PHOTO.)

India’s presidential statement on maritime security, which contained a tacit reference to China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea by calling for ensuring the freedom of navigation in accordance with international laws, was adopted by the Security Council despite China holding out till the last minute, people familiar with developments said on condition of anonymity.

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The rotating presidency of the Security Council is held by India for August and this was the first standalone discussion on maritime security by the UN’s highest body. India adopted a consensus building approach by initiating consultations among all Security Council members several months in advance and prepared a concept note that incorporated ideas of all members.

Modi, who became the first Indian premier to chair a meeting of the Security Council, called for a cooperative framework to deal with maritime disputes, climate change and natural disasters. He proposed five principles to develop a roadmap for global maritime security in his address in Hindi.

The principles are removing barriers from legitimate maritime trade, encouraging responsible maritime connectivity, settling maritime disputes through peaceful means and on the basis of international law, jointly facing natural disasters and maritime threats created by non-state actors, and preserving the maritime environment and resources.

Modi highlighted steps taken by India in this context, including creating the maritime information fusion centre, responding to maritime disasters in the region, and settling the maritime boundary with Bangladesh, and said such measures help build cooperation and trust.

The debate on maritime security was one of three signature events being organised by India during its presidency of the Security Council – the other two will focus on counter-terrorism and peacekeeping – and the presidential statement was the first outcome document by the UN body on maritime security.

The presidential statement has to be adopted unanimously, but the process was not smooth as China held out till the very end because of language related to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the people cited above said. Indian negotiators helped find language acceptable to all members without dropping the reference to UNCLOS, which the four other permanent members of the Security Council insisted on retaining, the people added.

The presidential statement focused on the primacy of international law, noting UNCLOS is the legal framework for all activities in the oceans, including countering illicit activities at sea. It also highlighted the importance of enhancing global and regional cooperation to counter threats to maritime safety and security.

The statement promotes safe and secure shipping while ensuring freedom of navigation in line with international laws, and welcomes mutual legal assistance and other types of law enforcement cooperation on transnational organised crime.

It calls for strengthening cooperation for maritime security, including against piracy and terrorist activities, as well as against transnational organised crimes. It also seeks enhanced cooperation to protect critical infrastructure, including cross-border infrastructure

Blinken, in his address, referred to India’s leadership on issues such as a free and open Indo-Pacific and collaborative efforts such as the maritime fusion centre that has enhanced cooperation among Indian Ocean partners. The freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded flow of maritime commerce is critical to security of nations but there are also critical areas where maritime rules are under threat, such as the South China Sea, he said.

Without naming China, Blinken said the South China Sea had witnessed dangerous encounters, “provocative actions to advance unlawful maritime claims” and to intimidate and bully states. “When nations ignore or purport to redraw the borders of other nations, whether by land or by sea, they undermine the sovereign equality of member states – a guiding principle of the UN,” he added.

China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dai Bing, sought to counter Blinken’s remarks by saying a “few countries are pursuing exclusive regional strategies in Asia-Pacific in an attempt to create and intensify maritime conflict” and weaken regional stability. He opposed the mention of the South China Sea and accused the US of “stirring up trouble out of nothing”.

Putin said Russia wants to build productive cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Association and Indian Ocean Commission and help ensure security in the Persian Gulf and Atlantic Ocean. He called for a special structure within UN to fight maritime crimes in various regions.

Putin respect for sovereignty and settle disputes through dialogue Russia wants to build productive cooperation with the Indian Ocean Rim Association and Indian Ocean Commission, help ensure security in Persian Gulf, Atlantic Ocean

united under UN special abilities armed contingents of states, Russia to share experiences of anti-terrorist ops, think about special structure within UN to fight maritime crimes in various regions, supported by member states,

Four heads of state and government, including Modi and 10 ministers participated in the debate, including French foreign minister Jean-Yves le Drian and UK defence secretary Ben Wallace.

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