Wednesday, December 6, 2023

India, Australia call for code of conduct in South China Sea to be effective

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According to a joint statement published by both governments, India and Australia urged for the South China Sea Code of Conduct to be effective, substantial, and completely compliant with international law.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese issued a joint statement in which they emphasised the importance of adhering to international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), in dealing with challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the South China Sea. On Friday, Albanese undertook an official visit to India, where he visited Prime Minister Modi, President Droupadi Murmu, and Foreign Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

“The Prime Ministers underlined the importance of being able to exercise rights and freedoms in all seas and oceans consistent with international law, particularly the UNCLOS, including freedom of navigation and overflight,” according to the joint statement.

“They underscored the importance of disputes being resolved peacefully in accordance with international law without threat or use of force or any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo, and that countries should exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability,” the statement added.

PM Modi and his Australian colleague both reaffirmed their commitment to increasing cooperation through the Quad.

The Australian Prime Minister expressed his desire to work closely with India to promote the Quad’s positive and practical agenda, including welcome Prime Minister Modi to Australia for the 2023 Quad Leaders’ Conference.

Both PMs are looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Quad partners in the Indo-Pacific to promote their common vision of a free, open, inclusive, and resilient region, as well as to deliver on pledges made at the 2022 Quad Leaders’ Summit.

“The Prime Ministers welcomed progress on Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), which will seek to strengthen regional economic cooperation and integration to address new and emerging opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific, including in supply chains and the clean energy transition,” the statement read.

“They appreciated the Quad’s ongoing efforts to implement the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative, which will help enhance maritime domain awareness and support regional partners to counter challenges such as Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and to respond to climate and natural disasters,” the statement added.

PM Modi and PM Albanese reaffirmed their commitment to ASEAN centrality and the ASEAN-led regional architecture, including working closely together through the East Asia Summit (EAS).

They noted the close cooperation between India and Australia under the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) aimed at better management of shared maritime domain by enhancing cooperation in preserving maritime ecology, reducing the impact of marine pollution, ensuring sustainable use of marine resources and reducing the impact of climate change.

In this regard, they agreed to continue their close cooperation under various multilateral mechanisms such as ISA, Coalition for Disaster Resilience Infrastructure (CDRI), EAS and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). 

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