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India for 'unhindered' navigational rights in intl waters

Google Oneindia News
South China Sea
New Delhi, Jun 8: Against the backdrop of disputes in the South China Sea involving China, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Saturday that India believes in "unhindered" freedom of navigation in international waters. Interacting with reporters here, he said maritime disputes between nations should be settled through negotiations and discussion and without any third-party intervention.

"India strongly believes in international waters and there should be unhindered freedom of navigation for all the countries," he said. Underlining the importance of international laws on maritime issues, Antony said: "The freedom (for navigation in international waters) must be as per the expected procedure and international laws." On settlement of disputes between countries, he said: "Whenever any dispute arises between countries, we believe it should be settled through negotiations and discussions among the parties themselves, not by any third-party intervention. That is our approach."

Last week, Antony had addressed the Asia Security Conference at Singapore and had voiced India's position for freedom of navigation in international waters. Asked about the planned build-up by America in the region, he said, "Regarding US strategy, I do not want to comment much. I have explained our stand in Singapore."

During the conference, the US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had announced that Washington has decided to move majority of its warships into the Asia-Pacific region in the coming years. Asked about the outcome of his meeting with Secretary Panetta who was on a two-day visit to India, the Minister said the talks would further improve the relations between New Delhi and Washington.


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