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Modi and Asean ask for adherence to international law in SCS | India News

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NEW DELHI: Amid efforts to finalize a code of conduct for the waters of the South China Sea (SCS), where several ASEAN nations remain embroiled in maritime border disputes with China, India joined ASEAN on Thursday to reiterate once again the importance of freedom of navigation and overflight and adherence to international law, especially UNCLOS.
Addressing the 17th India-Asean summit that was held virtually, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that there was a great closeness between India’s “Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative” and India’s “Indo-Pacific Outlook”. the Asean.
“We strongly believe that a cohesive and responsive Asean is essential for the security and growth of everyone in the region,” Modi said, adding that the 10-member group from Southeast Asia was the nodal center of the India Act East policy. . Modi said that India’s top priority was to accelerate all types of connectivity with Asean, including economic, digital, financial and maritime.
Despite reservations repeatedly expressed by China and Russia, India has argued that the Indo-Pacific is a free, open, transparent and inclusive concept with Asean at its center.
Sharing details on the issues that emerged during the summit, the government said that both sides noted the importance of promoting a rules-based order in the region, including through upholding compliance with international law, especially UNCLOS.
“The leaders affirmed the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, security and protection in the South China Sea, in particular freedom of navigation and overflight,” said MEA Secretary (East) Riva Ganguly Das , adding that the discussions span regions and internationals. issues including terrorism.
Both India and Asean consider that the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides the “legal framework” for conducting trade, commerce and other activities in the SCS.
Modi participated in the summit at the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Vietnam is the current president of Asean. The Vietnamese prime minister was quoted as saying at the 37th ASEAN summit on Thursday that member states expected the early conclusion of a code of conduct that is “effective, substantive and consistent with international law, particularly UNCLOS.”
However, as China and Asean seek to finalize the code of conduct by next year, India and the US had recently warned, after their 2 + 2 ministerial dialogue, that the code of conduct must not harm legitimate rights and interests. of any nation. in accordance with international law. This was intended to prevent China, which continues to make expansive claims in disputed waters, from getting its way in negotiations for an effective code of conduct.
According to Das, Modi also underlined the importance of strengthening the convergence between India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and Asean’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific to ensure a free, open, inclusive and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. rule-based.
Modi also announced a $ 1 million contribution to the Covid-19 Asean Response Fund and reiterated India’s offer of a $ 1 billion credit line to support Asean connectivity.

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