Rajnath stresses on open, inclusive Indo-Pacific region at ASEAN meet
Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday called for “an open and inclusive order” in Indo-Pacific region, including the South China Sea, with respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of countries while reiterating New Delhi’s support to freedom of navigation, overflight and unimpeded commerce for all in international waters in accordance with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Singh’s comments during a virtual address at the 8th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus came at a time when Beijing’s aggressive posturing in the resource-rich waters of South China Sea has attracted global attention to the region. China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Taiwan have competing claims to parts of the South China Sea - a crucial international trade route.
The ADMM-Plus is an annual meeting of defence ministers of 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and eight dialogue partner countries, mainly Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Russia and the United States.
During his address, Singh stressed on the need for peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules. Singh’s Chinese counterpart also attended the virtual meeting. “India has strengthened its cooperative engagements in the Indo-Pacific based on converging visions and values for promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the region. 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 said.