July 22, 2021

EU & India strongly committed to have free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific

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The European Union (EU) along with India are strongly committed towards having a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific, which will be constructed accordingly following the respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty, and the liberty of navigation and overflight, according to the influential grouping’s statement on Monday.

The affirmation came after the EU and India conducted a joint naval drill in the Gulf of Aden on June 18 – 19 to enhance operational interoperability and promote peace and security in the key waterways.

The EU stated both sides are highly inclined to enhance cooperation in the maritime security sphere for the Indo-Pacific region.

Earlier, in January, the 27-nation EU and India introduced a dialogue on maritime security and mutually agreed to strengthen the two-way cooperation for this domain.

In a statement, the bloc said, “The EU and India are committed to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, democracy, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peaceful resolution of disputes.”

It stated both sides affirmed the primacy of international law which comprises the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

A similar statement was given by India’s defence ministry.
In April, the EU presented a comprehensive strategy for the Indo-Pacific region, with the priorities and vision, which the bloc said reflects the “economic and strategic centre of gravity”.

The two-day naval exercise amid the Indian navy and the European Union Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) Somalia had the participation of over five warships.

The EU stated, “The exercise was based on the scenario of an anti-piracy operation. It included cross-deck helicopter landings, complex tactical evolutions at sea, live firing, a night-time joint patrol and a naval parade in the high seas off the coast of Somalia.”

“The EU and India intend to strengthen their operational cooperation at sea, including joint naval exercises and port calls, and to protect the sea-lanes of communication. They also intend to boost maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific through mutual coordination and exchanges,” the EU added.

The EU further said, “The EU and India reaffirm their interest to enhance their cooperation in the field of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.”

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