PM Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to chair a UNSC meet

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday put forward before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) five principles based on which a global roadmap for maritime security could be evolved.

He listed the points during the High-level Open Debate on ‘Enhancing Maritime Security – A Case for International Cooperation’ through video conferencing, becoming the first Indian Prime Minister to chair a UNSC meet.

The principles, according to PM Modi, include removing barriers to legitimate maritime trade; resolving maritime disputes peacefully and in accordance with international laws; jointly fighting maritime threats from natural disasters and non-state actors; conserving the maritime environment and marine resources; promoting responsible maritime connectivity.

“Oceans are our shared global commons. They are also the lifeline. Above all they are key to our planet’s future. However, today this common maritime heritage of ours is facing various types of threats,” Prime Minister Modi said at the UNSC session that was attended by three Heads of State and Governments.

“Maritime routes are being misused for piracy and terrorism. There are maritime disputes between several countries and climate change and natural disasters are also challenges to the maritime domain,” he cautioned.

“In this context we need a framework for mutual cooperation in order to conserve and utilize our shared maritime heritage,” Modi argued.

“Such a framework cannot be created by a country alone; it requires joint efforts by all of us. It was with this thought we decided to bring this very important subject to the UN Security Council,” he stated.

“Today’s high-level debate will provide the necessary guidance,” Modi hoped.

He put forward five basic principles to
provide a structure for today’s debate and expressed confidence that the Council can evolve a global roadmap for maritime security cooperation based on these five principles.

“The first principle is we need to remove barriers to legitimate maritime trade. Global prosperity of all our nations depends on the flow of maritime trade. Any hindrance in global maritime trade can hinder the entire global economy,” the Prime Minister mentioned.

Noting that free maritime trade has always been the civillisational ethos of India, he said, thousands of years ago, Lohtal port of the Indus Valley Civilization had extensive maritime trade with its contemporary civilizations.

“It was in the free maritime environment of the ancient world that lord Buddha’s message of peace and harmony could spread across the world. In the present context through this open and inclusive ethos India has put forward the vision of SAGAR- Security and Growth for All in the Region,” PM Modi said.

Through this vision we want to create an inclusive framework for maritime security in our region, he added.

“The vision aims for a safe, secure and stable maritime domain. For free maritime trade, it is also necessary that we fully respect the rights of seafarers of other countries,” the Prime Minister further said.

The Second Principle he mentioned was that maritime disputes must be resolved peacefully and in accordance with international laws.

“This is extremely important for promoting mutual trust and confidence and ensuring global peace and stability. It was with this understanding and maturity that India resolved its maritime boundary with Bangladesh,” he argued.

As the third principle, he said that we should jointly fight maritime threats from natural disasters and non-state actors.
India has taken several initiatives to promote regional cooperation on this principle, he further said.

We have been the first responder during cyclones, tsunamis and pollution related disasters in our region. Since, 2008, Indian Navy has been patrolling to counter piracy in the Indian Ocean, Modi informed the Council.

India’s role in the Indian Ocean region has been that of a net security provider.

The fourth principle the Prime Minister enumerated is that we need to conserve the maritime environment and marine resources.

“Our oceans directly impact our climate. Hence it is very important that we keep our maritime environment free of pollutants like plastic waste and oil spills. We also need to take joint steps against over-fishing and marine poaching,” he said.

“At the same time we need to increase mutual cooperation in Oceans Science research. India has launched a Deep Ocean Mission. We have also taken several initiatives to promote sustainable fishing,” PM Modi highlighted.

He put forth the fifth principle as the need to promote responsible maritime connectivity. It is well understood that creation of infrastructure is necessary to boost maritime trade.

“However, in such infrastructure projects, it is important to pay attention to fiscal sustainability and absorption capacities of host countries and for this we must develop appropriate global norms and standards,” Modi stated.