India “Internet Security Provider” in Indian Ocean Region: Prime Minister Modi Tells UN Security Council

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asserted India’s role as a “network security provider” for the Indian Ocean region as he chaired a virtual session of the Security Council, which upheld the primacy of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) despite resistance. from China.

“There is obviously a need to build infrastructure to promote maritime trade, but such projects must be launched, keeping in mind the fiscal sustainability and absorptive capacity of nations,” the prime minister said, delving into subtly Chinese President Xi Jinping. transcontinental connectivity project, Belt and Road Initiative, which has been criticized for its predatory lending practices that have put several small countries in the region in debt trap.

Modi chaired the maritime security session just nine days after India, currently a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, assumed its presidency for August. He was the first Indian Prime Minister to chair a session of the UN Security Council.

The Prime Minister suggested that a roadmap for maritime security cooperation should be based on five principles – resolving maritime disputes in accordance with international law, removing obstacles to promote legitimate maritime trade, cooperation between nations to address maritime threats posed by non-state and natural actors. disasters, protection of the environment and maritime resources and responsible maritime connectivity.

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The session saw the Security Council adopt the outcome document, a statement by the President of the Council, which reaffirmed that international law, as reflected in UNCLOS adopted on December 10, 1982, established the legal framework applicable to activities. in the oceans, including combating illegal activities at sea.

Negotiations on the outcome document before the session did not go smoothly. China, one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, called for the presidential statement to remove any reference to the 1982 UNCLOS in the context of maritime dispute resolution. Three other permanent members of the Security Council – the United States, France and the United Kingdom – insisted on retaining the reference. India mediated between China and the US-led camp and was finally able to find language acceptable to all, without abandoning the reference to UNCLOS.

Although an arbitral tribunal established under the 1982 UNCLOS rendered a unanimous decision five years ago rejecting China’s vast claims to the South China Sea, Beijing has firmly refused to join.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was among three other foreign leaders who attended the council meeting. President Joe Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken represented the United States at the session, which saw the first-ever stand-alone discussion on maritime security at the UNSC.

India’s growing strategic convergence with the United States to counter China’s hegemonic aspirations in the Indo-Pacific region has recently become an irritant in its relations with Russia. But the high-level participation of Russia and the United States in a Security Council session chaired by the Indian Prime Minister is presented by New Delhi as a diplomatic success of its balance.

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