At INS Visakhapatnam commissioning, Rajnath’s dig at China: ‘Some irresponsible nations…’

“It is a matter of concern that UNCLOS is being repeatedly weakened by arbitrary interpretation of its definition by some nations," Rajnath Singh said on Sunday.

In a veiled dig at China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said “some irresponsible nations” with their narrow partisan interests and hegemonic tendencies are coming up with wrong definitions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Commissioning the Indian Navy’s destroyer Visakhapatnam on Sunday morning, the defence minister said: “It is a matter of concern that UNCLOS is being repeatedly weakened by arbitrary interpretation of its definition by some nations.”

His comments come months after China announced new maritime rules, designed to control the entry of foreign vessels in what Beijing calls “Chinese territorial waters”. Under the new law, which came into effect on September 1 this year, foreign vessels, both military and commercial, are required to submit to Chinese supervision in “Chinese territorial waters,” as per the new law.

Vessels that “endanger the maritime traffic safety of China” will be required to report their name, call sign, current position and next port of call and estimated time of arrival. The name of ships transporting dangerous goods and cargo deadweight will also be required, the state-run Global Times reported.

The law is particularly significant for the passage of vessels, both commercial and military, in the disputed South China Sea, East China Sea and Taiwan Strait. This led to increased tensions with the US and its partners in the region.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea guarantees that a coastal state will not hamper the right of passage of foreign vessels if they don’t threaten a nation’s security.

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