New Delhi, Dec 11:
Notwithstanding the South China Sea dispute, India, China and Russia on Monday agreed to support freedom of navigation and overflight rights based on the principles of international law in an effort to boost maritime trade.
This was reiterated during the 15th Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Russia, India and China, also known as the RIC. Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi and his Russia counterpart Sergei Lavrov held the meeting with Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj here.
“Recognising the growing importance of maritime-trade in an increasingly globalised world, we support freedom of navigation and overflight rights based on the principles of international law, particularly UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea),” said the joint communiqué issued after the meeting.
This statement assumes importance considering that freedom of navigation has come under threat with China ignoring The Hague Tribunal’s verdict on the South China Sea. Ever since the South China Sea dispute escalated, India has asserted adherence to international maritime law.
On the issue of tackling terrorism, the joint communiqué called for “swift and effective” implementation of existing international commitments on countering terrorism, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, relevant UN Security Council resolutions and targeted sanctions relating to terrorism and the FATF International Standards worldwide.
“While discussing terrorism, I put across my view that a significant rise in acts of terrorism by terrorist organisations such as Taliban, Daesh (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, and LeT directly undermine international peace and security and endanger ongoing efforts to strengthen the global economy and ensure sustainable growth and development. India strongly recommends a comprehensive policy for dealing with global terrorism,” Swaraj said during her address at the meeting.
She said the policy on global terrorism should include dealing with extremism, countering religious fanaticism, preventing recruitment of terrorists, disrupting terrorist movements, stopping all sources of financing of terrorism, stopping flow of FTFs (Foreign Terrorist Fighters), dismantling terrorist infrastructure, and countering terrorist propaganda through the internet, but we should not limit ourselves to these alone.
In another significant decision, the RIC Foreign Ministers also welcome the beginning of the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreed upon between E3/EU+3 and Iran in Vienna on 14 July 2015 regarding Iran’s nuclear programme.
“We welcome the fact that this complex issue was resolved through diplomatic means thus strengthening regional and global security as well as nuclear non-proliferation. We express readiness to exert all efforts in order to ensure sustainable implementation of the JCPOA and engagement of Iran in normal economic and political cooperation,” it said.
(This article was published on December 11, 2017)
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