Abide by declaration in South China Sea, says India

Kuala Lumpur, Nov 4 (IANS) India on Wednesday hoped that all states in the South China Sea region will abide by the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

Addressing the third ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-plus) here, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar called maritime security a common challenge, and said seas and oceans in our region are “critical enablers of our prosperity”.

“The situation in the South China Sea and recent developments there have attracted interest and concern,” the Indian minister said.

“This is natural since freedom of navigation in international waters, the right of passage and overflight, unimpeded commerce and access to resources in accordance with recognised principles of international law including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, are of concern to all of us,” he said.

“India hopes that all parties to the disputes in the South China Sea region will abide by the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, ensure its effective implementation, and work together to ensure a peaceful resolution of disputes,” Parrikar said.

“We also hope that the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea would be concluded at an early date by consensus,” the minister added.

He also called terrorism and radicalisation a “persistant threat” and called for cooperation on ending it.

“We are all concerned with the persistent threat of terrorism and radicalism. There can be no justification for acts of terrorism and we have to work resolutely to choke off recruitments, funding and arms for terrorists. We commend Malaysia’s initiative on Global Movement of Moderates and other efforts to combat radicalisation,” the minister said.

The forum included defence ministers from the 10 ASEAN members and counterparts from countries such as the Australia, China, India, Japan and the United States.

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