UNSC adopts first-ever statement on maritime security under India’s presidency
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Monday adopted the first-ever presidential statement on maritime security soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a virtual open debate focused on global cooperation for maritime security. India, as the UNSC president this month, noted the threats to maritime safety and security and called upon the members to consider implementing the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar later thanked all members for “supporting the first signature event of Indian Presidency” after the statement on maritime security was unanimously adopted by UNSC. “Ten non Council members sent their written position underlining that the debate was timely and relevant. PM articulated five key maritime principles- on trade, disputes, natural disasters, environment and connectivity,” Jaishankar tweeted.
Prime Minister Modi called for a “framework of mutual understanding and cooperation” on maritime security as he outlined five principles, including the settling of maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international laws. Among the four other principles proposed by PM Modi as chair of a high-level debate were freed maritime trade, jointly fighting maritime threats from natural disasters and non-state actors, preservation of the maritime environment and promoting “responsible maritime connectivity”.
Modi is the first Indian prime minister to preside over a UNSC open debate focussed on ways to effectively counter maritime crime and strengthen coordination in the domain. The meeting was attended by several heads of state and government of member states of the UNSC, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and US secretary of state Antony Blinken. The UNSC for the first time discussed maritime security as an exclusive agenda item in such a high-level open debate.
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After Modi’s address, Putin suggested the creation of a maritime security body in the UNSC to address maritime crimes, piracy and maritime terrorism and vowed his country will ensure security in the Persian Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean amid a surge across the globe in piracy-related incidents. "Unfortunately, there are also many threats along sea routes. And that is why it is so important that today we are considering substantive, practical issues related to the fight against piracy of the 21st century, meaning to establish a more effective counteraction to transnational crime and prevent the use of seas and oceans for criminal purposes", Sputnik quoted the Russian president as saying.
Speaking at the debate, Blinken thanked India for its leadership and bringing all the countries together for a discussion on maritime security and for “India's leadership on these issues,” especially in the Indo-Pacific. "That's why I'm grateful for India's leadership in bringing us together today and calling on all nations to recommit to defending and strengthening the maritime rules and principles that we forge together and committed to uphold,” Blinken said, according to PTI.
Monday’s virtual high-level open debate on maritime security is one of the three signature events of India’s current presidency of the powerful 15-nation UN body.