New Delhi: Amid territorial dispute in South China Sea, India on Thursday underlined the need for enhanced India- ASEAN cooperation for maritime security, freedom of navigation and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the international law.
Noting that there have been "unprecedented changes" in global dynamics, a top Indian diplomat said these underline the need for a stable and a peaceful regional environment, ASEAN's centrality in the evolving regional architecture and enhanced India-ASEAN cooperation.
Anil Wadhwa, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, said this cooperation should be for maritime security, freedom of navigation and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the international law.
"Our collaboration should deepen in the realm of maritime security, humanitarian and disaster relief, anti-piracy and counter-terrorism," he said, addressing the Academic Session of the 7th Delhi dialogue at IDSA.
ASEAN comprises Brunei Darrussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Of these, Indonesia, Cambodia, Brunei, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia have territorial dispute with China in South China Sea.
The Academic Session of the two-day Delhi Dialogue that concluded today, brought together policy makers, think tanks, scholars, business leaders and academics to deliberate on various aspects of the ASEAN-India strategic partnership.
Nguyen VU Tung, Vice President, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, said there are global implications on territorial issues relating to maritime security.
"ASEAN-led regional security architecture must address maritime security more seriously," he said, adding that India has no maritime disputes with ASEAN and has cooperative relations with no strategic trust deficit.
He underlined the importance of protecting maritime rights of individual countries and to collectively approach non- traditional maritime security challenges.
Meanwhile, highlighting the growth of India-ASEAN relationship into a strategic partnership since 2012, Wadhwa noted that today the relationship with ASEAN is one of the "cornerstones of India's foreign policy and the foundation of our Act East Policy".
There has been a "deepening of cooperation across the three pillars of our relationship -- politico-security, economic and socio-cultural, in the last 23 years," he added.