India makes it stand clear ahead of PM’s China visit, says all must respect UNCLOS

Hanoi [Vietnam], Sept 2 : Hinting that China needs to abide by the Hague tribunal's verdict on the South China Sea, Indian envoy to Vietnam P.

Harish on Friday advocated that all parties must respect the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) while emphasizing that New Delhi has constantly advocated that freedom of passage in international waters is important for trade.

"Our position on the South China Sea is well-known, we have constantly advocated for the freedom of over flight and the freedom of passage in international waters is very important for our trade, significant component of our trade goes through these seas," Harish told ANI in an exclusive conversation.

"We have also given a clear statement on the arbitral award. We believe that the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) represents the foundational aspect of the international law on seas and ocean and as a state party we have called on all parties to respect UNCLOSE," he added.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had last month said that it is up to India to decide what its position will be on the South China Sea dispute.

When asked whether he would like to make any statement on China seeking support from India on the South China Sea dispute, Yi said, "It is up to India to decide what position to take." Meanwhile, elaborating on the defence ties between India and Vietnam, the envoy said defence and security relationship is an important pillar of the strategic partnership between both sides.

"We have good relations between various wings of our armed forces and especially between our navies and between the coastguards.

We have a very strong training component and human resource development component in our defence relationship," Harish said.

"We also have regular dialogue, our two Defence Ministers met last year and had announced a joint vision for our defence partnership.

Our Defence Minister came here in June accompanied by large business delegation. So, over all you will see it is a very strong defence relationship," he added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier today said that the partnership between both sides will benefit Asia and the rest of the world.

Prime Minister Modi will first reach Vietnamese capital Hanoi on Friday night, where he will meet President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and hold wide-ranging talks with the top leadership to deepen ties in key areas of defence, security and trade, and oil exploration.

Briefing the media in New Delhi yesterday, Secretary (East), External Affairs Ministry, Preeti Saran, said: "Vietnam is India's important strategic partner and the visit is aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties, including defence, security and trade.

On September 3, the Prime Minister will leave for Hangzhou, China, from Vietnam to attend the G-20 summit on September 4 and 5.

Source: ANI