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India calls for free, open, inclusive Indo-Pacific

Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has reaffirmed India's call for a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific region.

Speaking at the 9th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting during the Cambodia-chaired ADMM Plus gathering at Siem Reap, he said: "India advocates free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region and calls for peaceful resolution of disputes while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations."

Singh reiterated India's commitment to nurturing practical, forward-looking and result-oriented cooperation between India and ADMM Plus countries for enhancing the maritime security in the region and safety of the global commons, the Indian Ministry of Defence said.

Without naming any one country or incident in particular, he also raised concerns about "complicating actions and incidents" that have eroded trust and confidence and undermined peace and stability in the region.

"India stands for the freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, peaceful settlement of maritime disputes and adherence to international law, particularly, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) 1982," he said.

Singh also hoped that the ongoing negotiations on the Code of Conduct on the South China Sea will be fully consistent with international law, in particular, UNCLOS, and should not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of nations that are not a party to these discussions.

Singh said ASEAN Defence Ministers are meeting when the world is seeing increasing strife amplified by disruptive politics. "A peaceful Indo-Pacific, with ASEAN at its centre, becomes vital more than ever for the security and prosperity of the world," he said.


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