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Business News/ News / India/  India stands for open, rule-based maritime borders in Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh
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India stands for open, rule-based maritime borders in Indo-Pacific: Rajnath Singh

Singh highlighted India‘s focus towards blue economy and strongly advocated the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs and preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.

Oceanic space should be respected as a global common for the benefit of humanity in an environmentally sustainable way. (Photo: iStock)Premium
Oceanic space should be respected as a global common for the benefit of humanity in an environmentally sustainable way. (Photo: iStock)

New Delhi: Emphasizing sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth while preserving the ecosystem, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said that India stands for open and rule-based maritime borders in the Indo-Pacific.

The minister was delivering the inaugural address at the 18th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) in the national capital.

Singh said that India, throughout history, has been a peace loving which has never invaded a foreign land and has always respected universal human values and territorial integrity of other countries, while treating them as equal partners.

He stressed that oceanic space should be respected as a global common for the benefit of humanity in an environmentally sustainable way.

“We stand for open, free, rule-based maritime borders in Indo-pacific, in which no nation, how-so-ever big, may be allowed to appropriate the global common or exclude others from its fair use. We are always ready and forthcoming to work with all the like-minded partner countries across various forums towards this endeavor," Rajnath Singh said.

The defence minister said that India’s shared vision of ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth of All in Region), Sustainable Development Goals and ‘Rule Based Order at Sea’ complement the focused Indian approach of inclusive growth and lasting collaboration in the Indo-Pacific region.

He highlighted India‘s focus towards blue economy and strongly advocated the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs and preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.

Singh voiced India‘s commitment to implement international regulations; enact legislations for maritime safety and security; and establish cooperative mechanism with nations and engage in capacity building of maritime law enforcement agencies.

He emphasised that India was also encouraged by the effectiveness of agreements like regional cooperation agreement for combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia and considers mutual cooperation alone as the most effective way for ensuring safety and security at sea. He called to spare no efforts while promoting such cooperative mechanisms.

The minister called for effective collaboration among maritime nations to deal with challenges to maritime safety.

“With continued growth in marine traffic, the potential risk of marine pollution and requirement of Search and Rescue consequent to any unwanted maritime incidents have also grown manifolds. The recent oil spill incidents have raised concerns about maritime environmental and the attendant life hazards. Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to threaten long term ocean sustainability. Smuggling, drug trafficking and human trafficking through ocean routes has made maritime law enforcement more challenging. Successful response strategy against threats is the need of the hour," he said.

Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is hosting 18th HACGAM in coordination with HACGAM secretariat from 14-18 October, 2022. A total of 55 representatives from 18 countries and Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia Information Sharing Centre (ReCAAP ISC) & United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime- Global Maritime Crime Programme (UNODC-GMCP) are participating in the meeting.

During the four-day event, working-level discussions and high-level deliberations on issues of maritime prominence in the domain of marine environment protection, maritime search and rescue and maritime law enforcement will be held.

The HACGAM is a multilateral forum of 23 countries viz. Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Turkiye, Vietnam and one Region i.e. Hong Kong (China).

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Published: 15 Oct 2022, 04:16 PM IST
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