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Some nations twisting definition of UNCLOS: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Taking a veiled dig at China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said “some irresponsible nations” for the sake of their narrow partisan interests and hegemonic tendencies are coming up with inappropriate interpretations of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
It is a matter of concern that UNCLOS is being repeatedly weakened by arbitrary interpretation of its definition by some nations, Singh said, after commissioning of Indian Navy’s destroyer Visakhapatnam here.
“As a responsible maritime stakeholder, India supports consensus-based principles and a peaceful, open, rule-based stable maritime order, Singh said. India envisions a rule-based Indo-Pacific, with freedom of navigation, free trade and universal values, in which the interests of all the participating countries are protected,” he added.
Singh underscored the importance of rule-based freedom of navigation and security of sea lanes in the present era of globalisation to ensure stability, economic progress and development of the world. “The UNCLOS 1982 specifies about any country’s territorial waters, exclusive economic zone and good order at sea,” he said.
“The arbitrary interpretations create obstacles in the path of a rule-based maritime order. There are some nations — I would like to say irresponsible nations (who) for the sake of their narrow partisan interests, keep on giving new and inappropriate interpretations to these international laws from hegemonic tendencies,” Singh said without naming China.
Noting that the Indo-Pacific is important for the whole world, Singh said the region sees the passage of two-thirds oil shipments of the world, one-third of the bulk cargo and more than half of container traffic.
Singh said as an important country in the region, the Indian Navy’s role assumes a more crucial role for the region’s security.
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