New Delhi: External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar at the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) highlighted the growing convergence of approaches on the Indo-Pacific region among different member nations.
Without naming China, the minister stressed that the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea should be fully consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). “Stressed that Code of Conduct on the South China Sea should be fully consistent with UNCLOS 1982. Should not prejudice legitimate rights and interests of nations not a party to discussions,” the minister tweeted.
This comes amid China’s growing assertiveness in the South China Sea. Beijing continues to claim sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea and has overlapping territorial claims with Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.
Jaishankar’s remarks come as a task force of four warships from the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet is scheduled to proceed on an over two-month overseas deployment to South East Asia, the South China Sea and Western Pacific, which will include exercises with Quad partners the United States, Japan and Australia.
During the EAS Foreign Ministers Meeting, Jaishankar also supported the ASEAN five-point consensus on Myanmar and welcomed the appointment of Special Envoy. “Supported the ASEAN five-point consensus on Myanmar and welcomed the appointment of Special Envoy. Noted the growing Covid-19 challenge faced by ASEAN and conveyed our support and solidarity,” he said.
Jaishankar said he participated in a substantive and fruitful ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers Meeting. “Much of India’s interests and relationships now lie to its East, a testimony of its ties with ASEAN. Looking forward to an early review of our Trade in Goods Agreement.”
“Support Initiative for ASEAN Integration through capacity building initiatives. Contribute through Mekong-Ganga Cooperation and its Quick Impact Projects (QIPs). Noted progress in Doctoral Fellowships and Hackathon,” he added.
The minister also proposed 2022 as the ASEAN-India friendship year for the 30th anniversary.