New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has put forward five basic principles for maritime security including a plea for removing barriers on legitimate maritime trade and settling maritime disputes peacefully on the basis of international laws.
Participating in a brainstorming session online convened by the United Nations, the Prime Minister said the ocean is the collective heritage of humanity but is facing many challenges.
“Sea routes are being misused for piracy and terrorism. There are maritime disputes between many countries. And climate change and natural disasters are also subjects related to the maritime domain,” Modi said underlining that the seas are important for the future of the planet.
“The prosperity of all of us is dependent on the active flow of maritime trade. The bottlenecks in this can be a challenge for the entire global economy,” he said.
He said, India has defined the vision of SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region – on the basis of this open and inclusive ethos. Through this vision, we want to create an inclusive structure of maritime security in our area. This vision is a safe, secure and stable maritime domain, the Prime Minister said.
Modi said, it is important to settle maritime disputes peacefully and based on international laws. This is important for mutual trust and confidence and key for ensuring global peace and stability, he said citing the example of India settling its maritime boundary issue with neighbouring Bangladesh.
“We have been the first responder in maritime disasters related to cyclone, tsunami and pollution. The Indian Navy has been patrolling in the Indian Ocean since 2008 to prevent piracy. India’s White Shipping Information Fusion Centre is increasing shared maritime domain awareness in our region…India’s role in the Indian Ocean has been as a Net Security Provider,” Modi said.
“We have to keep our maritime environment free from pollution like plastics and oil spills. And take joint steps against over-fishing and marine poaching. At the same time, we should also increase cooperation in ocean science, Modi said adding that India has just launched an ambitious “Deep Ocean Mission”.
The Prime Minister highlighted the need to encourage responsible maritime connectivity. “It is clear that the creation of infrastructure is necessary to increase maritime trade. But, the fiscal sustainability and absorption capacity of the countries have to be kept in mind in the development of such infrastructure projects. For this we should make proper global norms and standards,” he observed.