Unilateral actions can jeopardise security & stability of the entire region: VP

Visakhapatnam:  The Vice-President of India, Jagdeep Dhankhar, on Thursday cautioned that unilateral actions and disregard for international law at sea can have far-reaching consequences, and can jeopardise the stability and security of the entire region.

“If not well contained in time, it can go beyond regional disputes,” Dhankhar said while addressing the Indian Maritime Seminar (MILAN 2024) organised by the Indian Navy here on Thursday.

Dhankhar highlighted that the challenge to rule-based order is at its peak at the moment, and described its resolution as unavoidable necessity.

“In recent years, we have seen formidable security challenges in the maritime domain and these have acquired a new, menacing dimension having potential to endanger peace, not to speak of unsettling the supply chains,” Dhankhar said, while mentioning the cascading impact of such supply chain disruptions on the lives of ordinary people.

Emphasising global dependence on the seas for trade and commerce, the Vice-President underlined the need for observance of maritime order, terming it quintessential to peace and harmony of the region as also for maintenance of supply chains and economic growth.

Protection of global supply chains, avoiding deeper regional tensions and exploitation of the blue economy are global concerns that can no longer be ignored, he added.

Stating that Bharat recognises the significance of respecting the boundaries and fostering a rule-based maritime order, the Vice-President said, “We believe that unscrupulous adherence to international law, including the UNCLOS, is imperative and essential and the only way for the peaceful coexistence and sustainable use of maritime resources.”

Dhankhar observed that this aspect is severely strained and compromised in the present times.

Referring to the theme of MILAN 2024 – ‘Partners Across Oceans: Collaboration, Synergy, Growth’ – as very apt and relevant, the Vice-President underlined the need for nations to come together, share experiences, and develop collaborative strategies to ensure the safety, security and sustainability of our oceans.

Describing the oceans as pathways to connect people, Dhankhar said that oceans have played an important part in India’s history right from the time of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

Mentioning the great Indian epic Ramayana, which continues to be an intrinsic part of the South-East Asian culture, Dhankhar underlined that “our shared past holds immense value in establishing and furthering diplomatic dialogue even today”.

Praising the Indian Navy for its professionalism and maritime excellence, Dhankhar said that our Navy is dedicated to uphold the principles of freedom of navigation, promote regional stability, and respond to the emerging challenges in the maritime domain.

He also said that India’s maritime strength will be critical to “our marathon race to 2047 as a developed nation”.

Delegates from several countries participated in MILAN 2024.


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