India on Saturday expressed concern over “actions and incidents” that “erode” confidence in the South China Sea, and stressed the importance of adhering to international law, respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty .
In a speech at the 15th East Asia Summit (EAS), Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar also spoke about the Indo-Pacific and highlighted the growing interest in the region as a as an integrated and organic maritime space with 10 ASEAN countries at its center.
The Minister of External Affairs, referring to the recent announcement of policies by several countries for the Indo-Pacific region, said harmonizing different perspectives would never be a challenge if there was a commitment to the international cooperation.
The summit, which was held in virtual format, was chaired by Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his capacity as President of ASEAN and all EAS member countries attended. India is usually represented at the top by the Prime Minister.
In his speech, S Jaishankar also highlighted the need for greater international cooperation in the post-COVID world to address challenges transcending national borders such as terrorism, climate change and pandemics, the Ministry of Affairs said. exterior (MEA).
The East Asia Summit is a premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region dealing with security and defense issues. Since its creation in 2005, it has played an important role in the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia.
In addition to the 10 member states of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the ‘Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Russia.
MEA said S Jaishankar reaffirmed the importance of EAS as a leadership-led forum for exchanging views on strategic issues and spoke of “ the importance of adhering to international law, respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty and promote a world order “.
His comments on the need to respect territorial integrity and sovereignty came amid the bitter border dispute between India and China in eastern Ladakh and Beijing’s growing expansionist behavior in the South China Sea. and in the Indo-Pacific.
“On the South China Sea, the foreign minister expressed concern about actions and incidents that erode confidence in the region,” the foreign ministry said.
China claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei, have counterclaims.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, China has dramatically stepped up its military offensives in the South China Sea in recent months, sparking global concerns.
India called for promoting a rules-based order in the region, including respecting international law, in particular UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
“He said the code of conduct negotiations should not prejudice the legitimate interests of third parties and should be fully consistent with UNCLOS,” MEA said in a statement.
On the Indo-Pacific, he said: “The Minister of External Affairs noted the growing interest in the Indo-Pacific as an integrated and organic maritime space, with ASEAN at its center. appreciated the synergy between the perspectives of ASEAN and India. Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. “
He said India was equally positive about Indo-Pacific policies recently announced by other countries.