Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday gave a five-point agenda for enhancing maritime security and the need for international cooperation in this field.
Chairing a high-level meeting at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on “Enhancing Maritime Security – A Case for International Cooperation” via video conferencing with several heads of States, he underlined a five-point agenda for the debate.
He was the first Indian Prime Minister to preside over the UNSC Open Debate.
Giving first point, he called for removing barriers to maritime trade and also highlighted SAGAR (Security and Growth for all in the Region’), a 2015 Indian framework for regional maritime security.
“For free maritime trade, it is also necessary that we respect the rights of seafarers of other countries,” Modi said.
While elaborating his second point on the ‘maritime disputes’, the Prime Minister further said that these should be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international law which are “extremely important for promoting mutual trust and confidence, and ensuring global peace and stability.”
In this Acontext, the Prime Minister mentioned that India, with this understanding, has resolved its maritime boundary disputes with its neighbouring country Bangladesh. While outlining the third point of the agenda, Modi further said that countries should jointly tackle maritime threats from non-state actors and natural calamities and also said that we have been the first responders in sea disasters like Tsunami, cyclone and pollution.
He also emaphasised that India’s role in the Indian Ocean has been that of a net security provider.
Noting that the sea is our shared heritage, he pointed out that to prevent the menace of piracy, the Indian Navy has been patrolling and securing the Indian Ocean since 2008.
Giving his fourth point, he said that the maritime environment and marine resources have to be conserved and also highlighted the issues of pollution from plastic waste and oil spills.
He also exhorted the member nations to make joint efforts against overfishing and marine poaching.
“At the same time, we should also increase cooperation in Ocean Science. India has launched an ambitious ‘Deep Ocean Mission’. We have also taken several initiatives to promote sustainable fishing,” Modi said.
In the end, PM Modi called for responsible maritime connectivity, saying that there was a need to create infrastructure to promote maritime trade.
The UN Security Council has discussed and passed resolutions on different aspects of maritime security and maritime crime in the past.
However, this is the first time that maritime security was being discussed in a holistic manner as an exclusive agenda item in such a high-level open debate.