New Delhi: Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has reaffirmed India’s resolve for open, free and rule-based maritime borders in the Indo-Pacific region.
He stressed that oceanic space should be respected as a global common for the benefit of all 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,” said Rajnath Singh.
He was delivering the inaugural address at 18th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting (HACGAM) here. The Defense Minister asserted that India, throughout history, has been a peace loving society which has never invaded a foreign land.
The minister lauded schemes like ‘SAGAR’ (Security and Growth of All in Region), Sustainable Development Goals and ‘Rule Based Order at Sea’. He said the shared vision of India with the said schemes complement the focused Indian approach of inclusive growth.
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.
Rajnath Singh voiced India‘s commitment to implement international regulations; enact legislations for maritime safety and security; establish cooperative mechanism with nations and engage in capacity building of maritime law enforcement agencies.
“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,” said Rajnath Singh.
“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 added.