Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei): In view of growing trade and commerce in Southeast Asia, India on Tuesday emphasised on the need to secure sea lanes of communication from threats like piracy and smuggling in the region.
"The imperatives of globalisation and our economic inter-dependence require a stable maritime system, given the demands of trade and commerce and energy flows. Safety and security of sea lanes of communication is, therefore, of paramount importance," External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said in his Intervention at 20th ASEAN Regional Forum meeting here.
He said that non-state threats to maritime security stemming from piracy and smuggling should be addressed through dialogue, transparency and close cooperation.
"There is also need to reaffirm the importance of unimpeded right of passage and other maritime rights in accordance with accepted principles of international law," he said, adding "these principles should be respected by all."
Khurshid said that maintenance of peace and security in the region is of vital interest and sovereignty issues must be resolved peacefully by the countries concerned, in accordance with international law.
"We oppose the use or threat of use of force. We hope that all parties to disputes in the South China Sea region will abide by the 2002 Declaration on Conduct in the South China Sea and work together to ensure peaceful resolution of the disputes, in accordance with international law, including 1982 UNCLOS," he said.
"We urge all parties concerned to take forward these discussions."
Noting that the Asian security architecture now has a multiplicity of forums, albeit with converging agenda, he said the ASEAN should continue to be in the lead in each of these forums.
"We also believe that the activities under these forums should be coordinated so as to minimise duplication and encourage greater synergy. India remains fully committed to these processes and will participate in and contribute to the ARF as well as the ADMM+, Expanded Maritime Forum and others," he added.