India Calls For Demilitarisation Of South China Sea To Ensure Stability In The RegionA Chinese navy formation in the South China Sea. (STR—AFP via Getty Images)

Calling for a demilitarised South China sea free from ‘threat of use of force’, India on Monday (18 November) said that there was a need for protecting the rights of the states which are not party to the negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea.

“Emphasising the need to protect the rights of states that are not party to these negotiations, Defence Minister Rajanth Singh expressed the hope that the situation will remain stable, without the use or threat of use of force or militarisation of the region,” a Ministry of Defence release said, reports The New Indian Express.

“On the negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, he hoped that the outcome of these talks will be in keeping with all relevant international laws, including UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which promotes freedom of navigation, overflight and lawful commerce,” the release added.

The Defence Minister was addressing the sixth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus) in Thailand’s capital Bangkok.

More than $5 trillion worth of trade passes through the South China Sea, including 55 per cent of Indian trade.

Singh asserted that India’s vision for Indo-Pacific is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on free, open, inclusive and rules-based region.

“In short, our approach to security in the Indo-Pacific is sustainable by definition because it emphasises Security and Growth for All in the Region,” he said.

He also urged members to eliminate terrorist havens, disrupt their networks and financing and thwart their movement to ensure regional security.

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