‘Free and open Indo-Pacific is India’s stance’: Rajnath Singh : The Tribune India

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‘Free and open Indo-Pacific is India’s stance’: Rajnath Singh

Calls for collective wisdom and concerted efforts to deal with complexities of Indo-Pacific region

‘Free and open Indo-Pacific is India’s stance’: Rajnath Singh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh addresses at the 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference (IPACC), in New Delhi, Tuesday, September 26, 2023. PTI Photo



Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday, reiterated New Delhi’s stance on growing Chinese hegemony saying “India stands for a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific”.

A ‘free and open Indo-Pacific’ is a term used by nations to express their stand against China’s attempts to create ‘no sail’ zones in the South China Sea and ‘no fly zones’ over it.

The Minister was delivering the inaugural address at the 13th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs’ Conference (IPACC) in New Delhi which is being attended by 30 delegates from Indo-Pacific countries.

He called for collective wisdom and concerted efforts to deal with the complexities of the Indo-Pacific region, while tapping its full potential, to ensure a future marked by prosperity, security and inclusivity.

Indo-Pacific is no more a maritime construct, but a full-fledged geo-strategic construct, and the region is facing a complex web of security challenges, including boundary disputes and piracy.

India’s stand for a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific Region in the pursuit of shared security and prosperity.

He defined ‘Neighbourhood First’ as the cornerstone of India’s culture. India’s approach to the region is defined by its ‘Act East Policy’, Rajnath Singh added.

He reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision on engagement in the Indo-Pacific being based on five principles –Respect, Dialogue, Co-operation, Peace and Prosperity.

Rajnath Singh added that India’s efforts towards building robust military partnerships with friendly countries underscore its commitment to not only safeguard national interests, but also address global challenges faced by all.

Climate change-related concerns of small island nations of the Indo-Pacific need to be given the importance they deserve, as these bear the brunt of climate change as an existential crisis.

He termed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982 as a good example of international agreement that establishes the legal framework for maritime activities and addresses the issues arising from overlapping ‘concerns’ of different nations.

Nations must identify and seek to expand their ‘Circle of Influence’ to promote national interests on the global stage.

This, he said, may involve building partnerships, participating in regional organisations and employing diplomatic, economic or military tools strategically.

The IPACC and the parallelly organised Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS) and Senior Enlisted Leaders Forum (SELF) are one of the largest brainstorming events of land forces in the region. The Indian Army and the United States Army are co-hosting the event.

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