Skip to main content

Modi calls for 'equal access' to shared maritime area

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Friday for countries to have "equal access" to shared maritime and air spaces, and for regional disputes to be settled under international law. 

[SINGAPORE] Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Friday for countries to have "equal access" to shared maritime and air spaces, and for regional disputes to be settled under international law.

In a speech at the start of a security summit in Singapore, Mr Modi described his vision of nations across the Asia-Pacific region forging closer security and economic ties.

Although Mr Modi did not single Beijing out for direct criticism, he referred to China's military buildup in the South China Sea and its sweeping territorial claims across the strategic waterway.

"We should all have equal access, as a right under international law, to the use of common spaces on the sea and in the air," Mr Modi told the Shangri-La Dialogue.

"That would require freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law. When we all agree to live by that code, our sea lanes will be pathways to prosperity and corridors of peace."

SEE ALSO: Modi calls for 'equal access' to shared maritime area

India and its regional role are taking centre stage at this year's summit as nations look to counter China's inexorable military rise, and as Washington puts new emphasis on its military ties to New Delhi and the increasing importance of the Indian Ocean in US strategic thinking.

The Pentagon is renaming its oldest and largest military command to reflect India's growing significance.

From now on, the storied US Pacific Command, or PACOM, will be known as the Indo-Pacific Command.

Mr Modi referred to the need to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, "irrespective of size and strength", in another apparent reference to China's actions in the region.

Still, his remarks were inclusive overall, coming after he met with Chinese president Xi Jinping in an April summit where both leaders promised to reduce border tensions after a standoff in the Himalayas last year.

Troops from both sides had come eyeball-to-eyeball in the disputed Doklam plateau in June 2017 when Chinese soldiers started building a road and India sent troops to halt the process.

A crisis was averted two months later when both nuclear-armed nations pulled back.

Manoj Joshi, a distinguished fellow at the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, told AFP that ultimately what matters most is how much India is ready to stake in the Indo-Pacific concept, politically and militarily.

"India has a reputation of talking big, but delivering little," he told AFP.

"No matter what he says, the issue is not about international law or trade disputes, but about raw power - China's growing power and the effort of the regional states to contain it under the leadership of the US."


Popular posts from this blog

Balochistan to establish first medical university

The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentOctober 25, 2017QUETTA: The provincial cabinet on Tuesday approved the draft for establishing a medical university in Balochistan.Health minister Mir Rehmat Saleh Baloch made the announcement while speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.“The cabinet has approved the draft of the medical university which would be presented in the current session of the Balochistan Assembly,” he said, adding with the assembly’s approval the Bolan Medical College would be converted into a medical university.Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2017

China’s 'Digital Silk Road': Pitfalls Among High Hopes

Will information and communication technologies help China realize its Digital Silk Road?By Wenyuan WuNovember 03, 2017In his speech at the opening ceremony of China’s 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping depicted China as a model of scientific and harmonious development for developing nations. Xi’s China wants to engage the world through commerce but also through environmental protection and technological advancement. This includes Beijing’s efforts to fight climate change with information and communication technologies (ICTs) that it plans to export along its “One Belt One Road” initiative (OBOR). Xi may have ambitious plans, but could China be throwing up obstacles in its own way?In his speech, the Chinese president emphasized the need to modernize the country’s environmental protections. The Chinese state is taking an “ecological civilization” approach to development and diplomacy, with a natio…

Germany’s Siemens sets up Belt and Road office in Beijing
Germany’s Siemens sets up Belt and Road office in Beijingby Janne Suokas Mar 23, 2018 15:20 TRADEINVESTMENTBELT AND ROAD INITIATIVEGerman industrial and engineering group Siemens will set up a Belt and Road office in Beijing. surberFlickrCC BY 2.0
German industrial and engineering group Siemens will set up an office in Beijing to boost international cooperation under China’s Belt and Road initiative, the company said on Friday.The move will help strengthen Siemens’ cooperation with Chinese and international companies and expand business opportunities brought about by the Belt and Road initiative, according to the company’s statement.The Belt and Road initiative is China’s ambitious project to boost trade and infrastructure investment in more than 65 countries along the ancient Silk Road trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.Siemens said it had already partnered with hundreds of Chinese companies in overse…