India stressed on Wednesday that the South China Sea Code of Conduct should be fully in line with the relevant United Nations convention and that negotiations on it should not infringe the legitimate rights and interests of nations that do not. are not parties to the discussions.
In a virtual address at an East Asia Summit (EAS) meeting, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar also highlighted the growing convergence of approaches on the Indo-Pacific region among the different members of the grouping. .
Separately, Jaishankar also addressed a meeting of ASEAN and Indian foreign ministers where he addressed a range of issues, including connectivity, and said India was waiting with look forward to a quick review of the “agreement on trade in goods”. “Stressed that the South China Sea code of conduct should be fully in line with UNCLOS 1982. Should not infringe the legitimate rights and interests of nations not party to the talks,” Jaishankar tweeted of his meeting with the Foreign Ministers of EAS member countries.
China claims sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, a huge source of oil. However, several ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei, have counterclaims. India advocated for a rules-based order in the region, including respecting international law, especially UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
In his speech at the EAS meeting, Jaishankar also supported the ASEAN five-point consensus on Myanmar and welcomed the appointment of a special envoy. The Foreign Minister also spoke of the growing challenge of COVID-19 facing ASEAN and expressed India’s support and solidarity.
Jaishankar called the discussions at the ASEAN meeting “substantial and fruitful.” âThe larger context in which we approach our relationship today, as indeed anything else of importance, is unmistakably that of the COVID-19 crisis. We have noted how ASEAN members have deliberately responded to it, individually and collectively, âhe said.
“These challenges have also brought ASEAN and India closer together, as we have supported each other in these stressful times. This is something we can discuss later,” Jaishankar added. He said ASEAN is presented around the world as a good example of successful regionalism, multilateralism and globalization.
âThis year’s theme ‘We Care, We Prepare, We Thrive’ under the able Presidency of Brunei succinctly captures ASEAN’s prospects. I am confident that this theme also applies to our partnership,â Jaishankar said. . He said that the fact that ASEAN-led initiatives have established their importance in so many areas speaks for itself.
“India is committed to supporting a strong, unified and prosperous ASEAN, whose centrality in the Indo-Pacific is fully appreciated,” he said. “The strong convergence between ASEAN’s perspectives on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) proposed by India adds another dimension to our contemporary partnership,” said added Jaishankar.
He said India’s ties with ASEAN are rooted in history and strengthened by closeness. “Together, these are factors that can help us realize a vision of a more ‘connected’ India and ASEAN. This will naturally require the realization of a set of dedicated initiatives which, of course, form the core. of our collaborative program, “said the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In a series of tweets, he said that much of India’s interests and relations now lie in the east, testifying to its ties to ASEAN (Association of South Asian Nations). South East). The Minister of Foreign Affairs also emphasized the acceleration of connectivity projects and notably mentioned the trilateral highway and Kaladan projects.
The ambitious India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway is expected to enhance connectivity between the three countries. Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project is considered India’s gateway to Southeast Asia.
Regarding the coronavirus pandemic, he said India and ASEAN are “strong partners in the response to Covid: drugs or oxygen, equipment or logistics”. Jaishankar also proposed 2022 as the year of the ASEAN-India friendship for the 30th anniversary of the ties between the two sides.
ASEAN is considered one of the most influential groups in the region, and India and several other countries, including the United States, China, Japan and Australia, are its dialogue partners. Ties between India and ASEAN have strengthened in recent years, with emphasis on intensifying cooperation in the areas of trade and investment as well as security and defense.
EAS is the premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region to address 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 ASEAN member states, EAS includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia.