Moscow: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday that India is managing the complexities in its relationship with China. Addressing the Seventh Moscow Conference on International Security, she also expressed concern over the resurgence of territorial disputes in the maritime domain in the region.
Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16, 2017, after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the area by the Chinese Army. The face-off had ended on August 28, 2017.
"We continue to manage the complexities in the India-China relationship even as we seek to make progress within the framework of a broader developmental partnership," Sitharaman said. "Maritime territorial disputes are extremely complex. We need to ensure that such issues are managed effectively and solely through peaceful means," she added.
Noting that the past few decades of growth have transformed the Indo-Pacific region into the most dynamic engine of the global economy, she said, "We need to ensure that the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region is not put at risk through unilateral actions that can undermine regional peace and stability", PTI reported.
Sitharaman further said that the rights of freedom of navigation and over-flight as well as unimpeded commerce should be ensured. "For India, this is vital to sustain its own economic engagement with the Indo-Pacific region for mutual benefit," she added.
"We need to ensure that the prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region is not put at risk through unilateral actions that can undermine regional peace and stability."
- Smt @nsitharaman at the plenary session of the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security@DG_PIB pic.twitter.com/NLvGkt5l9D
— Raksha Mantri (@DefenceMinIndia) April 4, 2018
China has been asserting its vast claims to the South China Sea, transforming reefs into islands capable of hosting military equipment.
Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan have their own claims to the sea, while US warships regularly conduct freedom of navigation operations near islands controlled by Beijing.
(With PTI inputs)