In an address at the 15th East Asia Summit (EAS), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also talked about the Indo-Pacific and noted the growing interest within the region as an integrated and organic maritime space with 10-nation ASEAN at its centre.The external affairs minister, pertaining to recent announcement of policies by several countries for the Indo-Pacific region, said that harmonising various perspectives would never be a challenge if there's commitment to international cooperation.
The summit, held within the virtual format, was chaired by Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his capacity as chair of the ASEAN and every one the EAS member nations attended it. India is usually represented at the summit by the prime minister. Jaishankar also underlined the necessity for greater international cooperation within the post-COVID world to tackle the challenges cutting across national boundaries like terrorism, global climate change and pandemics, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
The East Asia Summit may be a premier forum within the Asia-Pacific region handling issues concerning security and defence. Since its inception in 2005, it's been playing a big role within the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia.Apart from the ten ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, us and Russia.The MEA said that S Jaishankar re-affirmed the importance of the EAS because the leaders-led forum to exchange views on strategic issues and spoke of the "importance of adhering to law of nations , respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty, and promoting a rules-based global order".
His comments on the necessity for respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty came within the midst of the bitter border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh and Beijing's increasing expansionist behaviour in South China Sea and Indo-Pacific."On the South China Sea, the external affairs minister expressed concern about actions and incidents that erode trust within the region," the Ministry of External Affairs said.
China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, an enormous source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei, have counter claims.In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, China has significantly ramped up military offensives within the South China Sea within the previous couple of months, triggering global concerns.
India has been pitching for promoting a rules-based order within the region including through upholding adherence to law of nations , especially the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
"He stated that the Code of Conduct negotiations shouldn't be prejudicial to legitimate interests of third parties and will be fully according to UNCLOS," the MEA said during a statement.On the Indo-Pacific, it said: "The external affairs minister noted the growing interest within the Indo-Pacific as an integrated and organic maritime space, with ASEAN at its centre. He appreciated the synergy between the ASEAN Outlook and India''s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative."He said India was equally positive about the Indo-Pacific policies announced recently by other nations.
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