India, US nudge China to abide by international tribunal order

India, US nudge China to abide by international tribunal order

The row over South China Sea returned to the India-US strategy articulation, with both subtly nudging China to abide by the international tribunal’s July 12 ruling on the dispute

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In a joint statement issued after the second bilateral strategic and commercial dialogue in New Delhi, India and US “stressed the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation, freedom of over-flight, and unimpeded lawful commerce throughout the region, including in the South China Sea”.

The statement was issued a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman joined American Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to co-chair the strategic and commercial dialogue.

India and the US called for “the utmost respect for international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea”. They did not directly refer to China, but called upon the states involved in the dispute to “resolve disputes through peaceful means  and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability”.

The joint statement issued after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with US President Barack Obama in Washington in early June had no reference to the dispute.

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