Niramala Sitharaman: No One Has Right To Change Global Maritime Commons Unilaterally or Arbiterarily

Shailesh Kumar, National Defence,
New Delhi, 27 February 2018

India no longer confines to Indian Ocean. Raksha Mantri indicates maritime policy shift by expressing Indian interests in Indo Pacific.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman without naming the China, made it clear that freedom of navigation and global maritimes commons are unchallenged and no country or group of countries can unilaterally or arbiterally change this global order.

“I am quite sure all of us are seized of this unilaterally acceptable point and that is right to navigation, freedom of navigation. That can never be challenged. And any situation, which is going to be posing a question about freedom of navigation, will have to be taken up seriously by all of us”, says Nirmala Sitharaman.

“And we belong to that multipolar world where we want to be clear that freedom to navigate can never be unilaterally of arbiterally questioned by anybody and we are clear in saying that this is a rules based order globally and no one or no regional power or no group of countries just a few of them should have the right to unilaterally change this order”, she added.

Nirmala Sitharaman was speaking at the Indo Pacific Regional Dialogue organised by Indian Navy in collaboration with National Maritime Foundation (NMF) headed by former CNS Admiral Robin Dhowan.

Rolling out her Modi Government’s change in Maritime policy, Nirmala Sitharaman said, ” We are no longer a regional policy influencer. Globally, we have a leadership which is clear headed within India, which is able to make a difference globally. And as a result when you look at the global commons are going to be policy wised determined by India as much as few established powers”.

She made it very clear that India no longer is limited to Indian Ocean but has expanded its maritime interests in Indo pacific that literally means globally, indicating Indian Navy’s blue water capabilities.

“And in that the global maritime commons have a very big role to play and when you talking of maritime commons, it is just not again consistent with what I laid before, consistent with that India is not an Indian Ocean player alone”.

“We are looking at India pacific. And that helps in understanding for all of us as to why we are no longer talking about Indian Ocean Region but also talking about wider common, which is Indo-Pacific Commons. And in that what is that all of us want”.

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