Jaishankar calls for respecting territorial integrity, sovereignty at East Asia Summit
External Affairs Minister
S Jaishankar represents India at the 15th East Asia Summit. (PTI)
NEW DELHI :
IN AN oblique message to China, India on Sunday expressed concern over “actions and incidents” that “erode” trust in the South China Sea, and underlined the importance of adhering to international law, respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty. In an address at the 15th East Asia Summit (EAS), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also talked about the Indo-Pacific and noted the growing interest in the region as an integrated and organic maritime space with 10-nation ASEAN at its centre.
The External Affairs Minister, referring to recent announcement of policies by several countries for the Indo-Pacific region, said that harmonising various perspectives would never be a challenge if there is commitment to international cooperation. The summit, held in the virtual format, was chaired by Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc in his capacity as chair of the ASEAN and all the EAS member nations attended it. India is generally represented at the summit by the PM.
In his address, Jaishankar also underlined the need for greater international cooperation in the post-COVID world to tackle the challenges cutting across national boundaries such as terrorism, climate change and pandemics, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. The East Asia Summit is a premier forum in the Asia-Pacific region dealing with issues relating to security and defence. Since its inception in 2005, it has been playing a significant role in the strategic, geopolitical and economic evolution of East Asia.
Apart from the 10 ASEAN member states, East Asia Summit includes India, China, Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand, United States and Russia. The MEA said Jaishankar re-affirmed the importance of the EAS as the leaders-led forum to exchange views on strategic issues and spoke of the “importance of adhering to international law, respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty, and promoting a rules-based global order”. His comments on the need for respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty came in the midst of the bitter border row between India and China in eastern Ladakh and Beijing’s increasing expansionist behaviour in South China Sea and Indo-Pacific.