South China Sea: India backs Vietnam, others against China


India on Thursday supported the stand taken by some South-East Asian nations that have called for freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where China is locked in maritime disputes with many of its neighbours.

In his remarks at the fifth East Asia Summit foreign ministers’ meeting in Kuala Lumpur, junior foreign minister V.K. Singh warned that “in a world of inter-dependence and globalization, there is no option but to follow international laws and norms”.

India supported the “freedom of navigation in international waters, including the South China Sea, the right of passage and overflight, unimpeded commerce and access to resources in accordance with principles of international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“Territorial disputes must be settled through peaceful means, as was done by India and Bangladesh recently using the mechanisms provided under UNCLOS,” Singh said.

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