On Monday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted the first-ever presidential statement on maritime security soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a virtual open discussion focused on global cooperation on the crucial issue of maritime security.
Need for Cooperation
Emphasizing the shared heritage of the sea, PM Modi made an important statement regarding the challenges faced on the oceanfront. He said; sea routes are the lifeline of international trade. In the current scenario, sea routes are misused for piracy and terrorism much more significant than ever.
He also highlighted the issue of maritime disputes between various nations and their negative impact on climate change.
Adding on, PM Modi also referred to some of the successful programmes of India concerning the maritime domain . India’s deep ocean mission and several other initiatives are in place to promote sustainable fishing.
Also, India has shown an active involvement by being one of the first responders during maritime disaster management– cyclones, tsunami and pollution control and has always been at the forefront to assist its neighbouring nations in the time of need.
Pressing an urgent need for a similar kind of framework, PM Modi asked for joint efforts by all the nations to work collectively on the domain of maritime security.
Removal of barriers was the first important proposal put forth by India. Keeping the hindrance of maritime trade and its effects on the global economy, PM Modi talked about the civilization ethos of India and termed the principle as SAGAR (security and growth for all in the region).
To boost the maritime trade, he also emphasized creating the necessary infrastructure and promoting responsible naval connectivity.
Highlighting India’s efforts in enhancing maritime domain awareness through its counter patrolling operation, hydrographic surveying and training support, PM laid an essential mark for fighting the threats from natural disasters and non-state actors. He also concentrated on climate change and asked for a collaborative approach for a pollutant-free marine environment.
The most important of all the agendas was the resolution of maritime disputes peacefully following international law. Citing the example of the naval dispute resolution between India and Bangladesh, he said that the Nations must understand the need for free maritime trade and learn to respect the rights of other nations.
Diplomatic achievement for India
When PM Modi mentioned the importance of maritime dispute resolution per international laws, he meant UNCLOS. As per the UNSC Presidential statement, “UNCLOS is the legal framework applicable to activities in the oceans, including countering illicit activities at sea.”
In addition, UNCLOS stresses mutual legal assistance and other forms of law enforcement cooperation against transnational organized crimes at sea (drug and human trafficking), including bilateral or regional agreements or arrangements.
Initially, China has consistently opposed the idea of UNCLOS. But with the due effort from India, to take a responsible yet consensus-building approach by consulting all the USNC members in advance has shown the desired results.
China has finally agreed to be on board and cooperate in the maritime domain. Nations like Russia and the USA thanked India for its leadership on such an important aspect and appreciated efforts to bring all members on board.
India has successfully given a kick start to its UNSC presidency with such a high diplomatic achievement. Eventually, it will also take up discussion on other significant challenges like terrorism. Until then it will be some exciting events revolving around the global challenges opposite to United Nations cooperation.