- In an apparent dig at China, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Saturday expressed concern about “actions and incidents” that “erode” trust in the South China Sea region.
- Addressing the 15th East Asia Summit, the minister said that the Code of Conduct negotiations should not be prejudicial to legitimate interests of third parties and should be fully consistent with UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
- Jaishankar noted the growing interest in the Indo-Pacific as an integrated and organic maritime space, with ASEAN at its centre. He appreciated the synergy between the ASEAN Outlook and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.
- India was equally positive about the Indo-Pacific policies announced recently by other nations. Harmonizing various perspectives would never be a challenge if there is commitment to international cooperation.
- The minister briefed the EAS leaders about India’s response to the pandemic and highlighted India’s efforts to support the international community. According to a statement issued by the foreign ministry, he also reiterated Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to help make the COVID vaccine accessible and affordable to all nations.
- According to the statement, 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, pandemics etc.
- The summit discussed ways to strengthen the EAS platform and to make it more responsive to emerging challenges on its 15th anniversary while calling for greater cooperation in keeping the global supply chains open for an expeditious and sustainable economic recovery.
- Regional and international issues such as the South China Sea, situation in Korean peninsula and Rakhine state were also discussed. Besides the Ha Noi Declaration, the Summit also adopted four other Leaders’ Statements on Marine Sustainability, Epidemics Prevention and Response, Women, Peace and Security, and Steady Growth of Regional Economy, the statement said.
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 prime minister