Modi Addresses China Regarding Freedom of Navigation:
In a diplomatically firm message, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed China, represented by Premier Li Qiang at the East Asia summit in Jakarta, advocating for the “positive agenda” of the Quad (comprising four nations) and emphasizing the crucial role of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
During the ASEAN-India summit, held concurrently in Jakarta, the Prime Minister outlined a 12-point proposal aimed at strengthening India-Asean cooperation.
At the East Asia summit, the PM stressed the importance of an Indo-Pacific region where international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) from 1982, is universally applicable. He called for freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful commerce, and a code of conduct for the South China Sea that adheres to UNCLOS and considers the interests of non-participating nations.
Modi’s reference to the Quad, a group advocating for a free and open Indo-Pacific, highlighted ASEAN’s central role in its vision. He emphasized the need for a rules-based international order, multilateralism, and international laws to address challenges like terrorism, extremism, and geopolitical conflicts. He advocated for dialogue and diplomacy as the primary means of resolving conflicts in the contemporary era.
Modi presented a 12-point proposal for enhancing India-Asean cooperation during the Asean-India summit, covering areas like connectivity, digital transformation, trade, economic engagement, and strategic ties.
Additionally, Modi announced plans to establish an Indian embassy in Timor-Leste, potentially the 11th member of the Asean bloc, and called for increased collaboration on maritime safety, security, and domain awareness.
He acknowledged the impact of climate change, cybersecurity, food security, health, and energy challenges on the Global South, emphasizing India’s focus on these issues during its G-20 presidency.
Regarding Myanmar and ASEAN member nations, Modi stated that India’s Myanmar policy considers ASEAN’s perspectives while also prioritizing peace, security, and connectivity along the borders.
He underscored the importance of a rule-based post-Covid world order, the advancement of a free and open Indo-Pacific, and elevating the voice of the Global South for the collective benefit.
Modi also stressed the need for a timely review of the Asean-India free trade agreement, affirmed Asean’s centrality in India’s Act East policy, and expressed full support for Asean’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific.