Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for equal access to both sea and air over Indo-Pacific region and unrestricted trade at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. He was, however, cautious about Chinese claims over the South China Sea. The Defence Chiefs from 40 nations are taking part in the conference.
PM Modi has described the whole conference as the centre for a new era of regional cooperation stretching from the African coast to the West US Coast. PM Modi stated that “We should all have equal access and right under international law to the use of common spaces on the sea and in the air that will require freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law”.
There has been a growing usage of the term “Indo-Pacific” across diplomatic and security meets in the US, Australia, India and Japan. This has come to signify and denote broader area hitherto called Asia-Pacific. PM Modi has always pushed for an expanded security position for India in the Indo-Pacific. India has been actively trying to reiterate its relations with the ASEAN nations in addition to developing its naval capacity.
India has also developed its bilateral relations with the regional nations individually. It will develop the Sabang economic zone along the northern tip of Sumatra. India has also entered into an agreement with Singapore for greater engagement between navies in form of increased exercises. The PM also stressed on growing Indo- China partnership and on the importance of globalisation in every context.