• | 3:36 pm

India backs Philippines in upholding its sovereignty: Jaishankar

Delhi, Manila convinced that progress of region is best served by adherence to rules-based order, with UNCLOS being important as constitution of the seas, says Jaishankar

India backs Philippines in upholding its sovereignty: Jaishankar
[Source photo: Chetan Jha]

External affairs minister S. Jaishankar on Tuesday came out in support of the Philippines for upholding its national sovereignty amid its recent flare-ups with Beijing in the South China Sea.

At a press conference in Manila, Jaishankar said: “We are also convinced that the progress and prosperity of this region is best served by staunch adherence to a rules-based order. UNCLOS 1982 is particularly important in that regard as the constitution of the seas. All parties must adhere to it in its entirety, both in letter and in spirit.”

“As the world changes, it is essential that countries like India and the Philippines cooperate more closely to shape the emerging order,” Jaishankar said, adding, “We are also both societies that contribute significantly to the global workplace. We would like to see more resilient supply chains and trusted digital partnerships.”

Three days ago, Manila had accused Beijing of indulging in an ‘irresponsible and provocative act’ after a Chinese Coast Guard vessel fired water cannons at one of its supply boats ferrying supplies to troops stationed at the warship in the Second Thomas Shoal.

Manila said the attack, the latest in a series of flare-ups between both nations in the past year, damaged the supply boat and injured crew members.

Beijing claims almost the entire South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, which is within the Philippines’ 200 mile exclusive economic zone.

Jaishankar and his Philippines counterpart Enrique Manalo highlighted the importance of maritime security, with the latter appreciating the rescue of MV True Confidence in the Gulf of Aden by INS Kolkata.

Speaking about the marine cooperation between Indo-Pacific countries, Jaishankar reiterated the agreement both countries signed last year for enhanced maritime cooperation. “It is appropriate that even today, there is an Indian Coast Guard vessel, which is making a port call in Manila,” he said, referring to the Indian Coast Guard ship Samudra Paheredar, a specialized pollution control vessel, that arrived at Manila Bay on Monday for a three-day visit.

Jaishankar is on a five-day visit to Singapore, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

During his visit to Singapore a day earlier, Jaishankar held comprehensive talks with his counterpart Vivian Balakrishnan on bilateral, regional, and global issues of mutual interest. He also met trade minister Gan Kim Yong, with talks focusing on bilateral cooperation in investment, green energy, and food security.

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