politics

Irresponsible nations coming up with new definitions of UNCLOS: govt

Irresponsible nations coming up with new definitions of UNCLOS: govt

NEW DELHI : In what can be termed as a swipe at China, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said some irresponsible nations with their narrow partisan interests and “hegemonic tendencies were coming up with wrong definitions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It is a matter of concern that the UNCLOS was being repeatedly weakened by arbitrary interpretation of its definition by some nations, Singh said in Mumbai after commissioning the Indian Navy’s destroyer Visakhapatnam. The ship is expected to boost to the Indian Navy’s anti-submarine capabilities. It can host anti-submarine warfare helicopters and boasts of a very high level of automation with sophisticated digital networks, combat management systems and integrated platform management systems. It is the first stealth guided-missile destroyer of the ₹35,000 crore Project 15B under which a total of four warships are being built. The next ship is set to be commissioned in 2023 while the other two are planned to be inducted by 2025. The warship has been designed by the Indian Navys in-house organisation, the Directorate of Naval Design, and constructed by Mazagon Dock Limited. The majestic ship measures 163 metres in length, 17 metres in breadth with a displacement of 7,400 tonnes. In his speech, Singh said that in “the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, territorial waters of nations, exclusive economic zones and the principle of Good order at sea have been propounded. Some irresponsible nations, for the sake of their narrow partisan interests, keep on giving new and inappropriate interpretations to these international laws from hegemonic tendencies, Singh said. “The arbitrary interpretations create obstacles in the path of a rule-based maritime order. We envision a rule-based Indo-Pacific, with freedom of navigation, free trade and universal values, in which the interests of all the participating countries are protected, he said. As a responsible maritime stakeholder, India supports consensus-based principles and a peaceful, open, rules-based stable maritime order, Singh said. Though the minister did not name China, it was clear that Beijing was the target given China’s actions of building and militarizing islands in the South China in a bid to claim the seas around it. The waters of the South China Sea are also claimed by other countries in the region including the Phillipines and Vietnam. China’s building of the islands has been slammed by all quarters. In his remarks, Singh said that India’s interests were directly linked to the Indian Ocean which in turn was crucial for the world economy. Given the large volumes of trade that passes through the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific regions, keeping the region open, safe and secure was a key objective of the Indian Navy, the minister said. Rule-based freedom of navigation and security of sea lanes in the current times of globalisation was very important for India and the world, he said. “Challenges such as piracy, terrorism, illegal smuggling of arms and narcotics, human trafficking, illegal fishing and damage to the environment are equally responsible for affecting the maritime domain. Therefore, the role of the Indian Navy becomes very important in the entire Indo-Pacific region, Singh said. World over, countries were working to strengthen their military might due mounting challenges to security including border disputes and the importance to maintain maritime dominance. We have an opportunity to use all our capacity, take advantage of the policies, and make the country a hub in indigenous ship building, Singh said adding the commissioning of the warship was a major boost to India’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat project. The indigenously-built stealth guided missile destroyer Visakhapatnam, comes loaded with an array of missiles and anti-submarine rockets. It is equipped with lethal weapons and sensors, including supersonic surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, medium and short-range guns, anti-submarine rockets and advanced electronic warfare and communication suits, according to a statement from the Indian Navy. The ship, propelled by four powerful gas turbines, is capable of achieving speeds in excess of 30 knots. It is fitted with a modern surveillance radar that provides target data to the gunnery weapon systems of the ship. Download.

politics 2021-11-22 Livemint