‘Irresponsible nations twisting definitions of sea laws’: Rajnath Singh

Without naming China, defence minister Rajnath Singh said “some irresponsible nations” for the sake of their narrow partisan interests and hegemonic tendencies are coming up with inappropriate interpretations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh at the INS Visakhapatnam commissioning ceremony, at Naval Dockyard, in Mumbai on Sunday. Without naming China, he said that “some irresponsible nations” keep twisting definition of sea laws. (ANI)
Defence minister Rajnath Singh at the INS Visakhapatnam commissioning ceremony, at Naval Dockyard, in Mumbai on Sunday. Without naming China, he said that “some irresponsible nations” keep twisting definition of sea laws. (ANI)
Updated on Nov 22, 2021 02:41 AM IST
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ByManish K Pathak, Hindustan Times, Mumbai

In a veiled jibe at China, Union defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said “some irresponsible nations” for the sake of their narrow partisan interests and hegemonic tendencies are coming up with inappropriate interpretations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

It is a matter of concern that UNCLOS is being repeatedly weakened by arbitrary interpretation of its definition by some nations, he added.

The minister was speaking after commissioning of Indian Navy’s destroyer INS Visakhapatnam in Mumbai when he made the remarks.

“There are some nations - I would like to say irresponsible nations – (who) for the sake of their narrow partisan interests, keep on giving new and inappropriate interpretations to these international laws from hegemonic tendencies,” he said, without naming China.

“The arbitrary interpretations create obstacles in the path of a rule-based maritime order,” he added.

China has been militarising islands in South China, a move that has attracted global criticism. The area has overlapping claims of several East and Southeast Asian nations.

“India is a responsible maritime nation and we believe in rule-based navigation and friendly and peaceful relations with all nations,” Singh said, adding that India envisions a rule-based Indo-Pacific, with freedom of navigation, free trade and universal values, in which the interests of all the participating countries are protected.

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s SAGAR (security and growth for all) embodies the same values and principles, the defence minister said.

Besides border disputes, Singh said maritime matters have been leading nations to bolster their militaries. “Make India an indigenous ship-building hub for not only our country but also the world,” he said.

INS Visakhapatnam, which is the first of the four stealth guided-missile destroyers under project-15B, was commissioned in the Indian Navy at the naval dockyard here. Project 15B comprises four ships — Visakhapatnam, Mormugao, Imphal and Porbandar, and all are being built by the Mazgon Dock Limited (MDL).

The ship is also packed with sophisticated state-of-the-art weapons and sensors such as surface-to-surface missile and surface-to-air missiles. It is fitted with a modern surveillance radar which provides target data to the gunnery weapon systems of the ship. The anti-submarine warfare capabilities are provided by the indigenously developed rocket launchers, torpedo launchers and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) helicopters.

“INS Visakhapatnam commissioning marks a milestone in indigenous shipbuilding, capability, firepower and intent in securing the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Indian Navy is the primary manifestation of India’s maritime power,” Navy chief admiral Karambir Singh said.

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Monday, November 29, 2021