As India leads from front, China agrees to UN's sea law at UNSC presidential statement

Written By: Sidhant Sibal WION
New Delhi Published: Aug 10, 2021, 12:01 PM(IST)

South China Sea Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

China is not seen as very enthusiastic about UNCLOS given it has been seen violating it. 

It was a big victory for Indian diplomacy on Monday as United Nations Security Council (UNSC) presidential statement had the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the key focus and China dropped its hesitations on it.

The UNSC presidential statement was the key outcome of the UNSC meeting on maritime security which was chaired by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Giving primacy to UNCLOS, the first such standalone statement on maritime security, it said, "The Security Council reaffirms that international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 (UNCLOS), sets out the legal framework applicable to activities in the oceans, including countering illicit activities at sea."

China is not seen as very enthusiastic about UNCLOS given it has been seen violating it. UNCLOS which was signed in 1982 and came into effect in 1994 as an international legal framework on maritime activities.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Philippines vs China case rejected the so-called "Nine-Dash Line" as it was contrary to UNCLOS.

The process was not expected to be very smooth with concerns expected from China. However, at the end of the day, its India's diplomacy and bridging role it has been playing at the high table that worked. It has been eight months since India has been a non-permanent member of the UNSC with August being the month of its presidency at the Council.

The meet saw robust participation with two presidents - Russian President Putin and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Vietnam's new PM Pham Minh Chinh and seven foreign ministers and three ministers.

It is for the first time such high-level participation is seen under any head of government at the Prime minister level.

At the P-5 level, Russian President was present with the foreign minister from France Jean-Yves Le Drian and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the UK at the minister level.

China had sent its deputy envoy to the UN at the meet - Dai Bing but it was because the Chinese envoy to the UN was on a holiday. August is among the months when envoys at the UN are on holiday and as many as seven envoys of various countries are on an off.

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