New Delhi: India calls for a free, open, and inclusive order in the Indo Pacific, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday, adding that New Delhi supports freedom of navigation, overflight, and unimpeded commerce in the international waterways including the South China Sea.
During the virtual address at the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus), Singh asserted that maritime security challenges are another area of concern to India and it hopes that the Code of Conduct negotiations regarding the South China Sea will lead to outcomes that are in keeping with international law.
"India calls for a free, open, and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific, based upon respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of nations, peaceful resolution of disputes through dialogue and adherence to international rules and laws," he said.
"India has strengthened its cooperative engagements in the Indo-Pacific based on converging visions and values for promotion of peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. Premised upon the centrality of ASEAN, India supports the utilization of ASEAN-led mechanisms as important platforms for the implementation of our shared vision for the Indo-Pacific," he added.
Stating that the sea lanes of communication are critical for peace, stability, prosperity and development of the Indo-Pacific region, the Minister said developments in the South China Sea have attracted attention in the region and beyond.
"India supports freedom of navigation, overflight, and unimpeded commerce in these international waterways. India hopes that the Code of Conduct negotiations will lead to outcomes that are in keeping with international law, including the UNCLOS and do not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that are not a party to these discussions," he said.