Any use of force in South China Sea not acceptable to India

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Ahead of India-ASEAN Post Ministerial Conference, foreign minister Salman Khurshid on Monday said India will reject any use of force in the South China Sea where several Asean countries are locked in a territorial dispute with China. Later in the day, Khurshid will also have a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Khurshid was replying to a query here about India's position about the call for a freedom of navigation by some Asean nations for a code of conduct in South China Sea.

"The Code of conduct is a work in progress but at part of the broad principles, we support freedom of navigation in South China Sea; the use of force is something which India rejects,'' said Khurshid.

The ongoing 46th Asean foreign ministers' meeting here has seen China, in a bid to prevent further escalation of strife, agreeing to hold official consultations over the issue. This was after Beijing's latest stand-off with Philippines which saw its foreign minister accusing China of increasing militarization in the region.

Apart from his bilateral with Wang, Khurshid is slated to have 9 other bilateral meetings Monday, including with his counterparts from Bangladesh, Canada, Cambodia and North Korea. About his meeting with the North Korean foreign minister, Khurshid said he was looking to firmly'' convey India's message over the issue of non-proliferation.

Times Of India


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