India fully determined to protect its maritime interests: Rajnath Singh

India fully determined to protect its maritime interests: Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) India is fully determined to protect its maritime interests, while it supports the mandate of the UN Convention on Law of Seas, 1982, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday. He pointed out the need for efficient and collaborative harnessing of the maritime potential of the Indo-Pacific region for a steady path to prosperity.

While addressing the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) 2021, being held virtually from October 27-29, 2021, the minister said: “India is committed to respecting the rights of all nations as laid down in the UN Convention on the Law of Seas (UNCLOS), 1982. We are fully determined to protect the legitimate rights and interests of our country in relation to our territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone, while supporting the maintenance of rule-based maritime systems, as mandated under UNCLOS, 1982.”

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s description of the Indo-Pacific as a region where the destinies of entities are interlinked, Singh said the seas are a vital communication link to facilitate transport of goods, exchange of ideas, catalysing innovations and contributing to bringing the world closer.

“Although the Indo-Pacific is characterised by diversity, marked by a multiplicity of cultures, ethnicities, economic models, governance systems and varied aspirations, the oceans remain a common binding link,” he said.

Singh emphasised on the need for an efficient, cooperative and collaborative harnessing of the region’s maritime potential for sustaining a steady path to prosperity.

He pointed out that while the seas offer abundant opportunities for sustenance and growth of mankind, they pose challenges such as terrorism, piracy, drug trafficking and climate change.

He called for a cooperative response to these challenges which, he said, has considerable trans-national implications. “There is a need to find convergence of interests and commonality of purpose on maritime issues,” he added.

Sharing his views on the broad theme of IPRD 2021, ‘Evolution in Maritime Strategy during the 21st Century: Imperatives, Challenges and Way Ahead’, Singh said it dwells upon the region’s past, gauges the present and then arrives at tenets that will form the foundation of maritime strategies for the future.

He hoped that the Dialogue will further the country’s shared and collective vision for the Indo-Pacific.

Singh said he is looking forward to the recommendations that will result from the deliberations.

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