Friday, June 14, 2024
Friday, June 14, 2024
Home » ‘Fragile’ South China Sea Situation Poses Clear Maritime Danger: Indian Navy Chief

‘Fragile’ South China Sea Situation Poses Clear Maritime Danger: Indian Navy Chief

by Tavit Ardzruni
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Indian Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar, in a sobering assessment of the South China Sea, labelled the current situation as ‘fragile’.

Speaking at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD-2023), Admiral Kumar expressed deep concerns over recent violations in that part of the world, underscoring the imminent danger several of these actions pose to the established order at sea.

“The fragile security situation in the South China Sea, in addition to the happening of violations of established Codes of Conduct or Confidence Building Measures, poses a clear and present danger to good order and discipline at sea,” warned Admiral Kumar. 

In recent weeks, Chinese aggressive actions have heightened tensions in the South China Sea, including a collision between a Chinese and a Filipino supply boat within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

China’s territorial claims, particularly the contentious “9-dash line,” have drawn sharp rebukes from regional neighbours. This is even as Beijing has been involved in a tense border situation with India. 

Admiral Kumar stressed the multifaceted consequences of contestation at sea, encompassing economic, social, and physical security. He illustrated these concerns with two compelling examples during his address.

“The blockage of Suez Canal by MV Ever Given in 2021, though not an outcome of military contestation or conflict, is a stark reminder of how economic security could be threatened by a small incident,” explained Admiral Kumar.

The Suez Canal, spanning 193 km, facilitates 12 per cent of global trade, transports one million barrels of oil daily, and contributes 2 per cent to Egypt’s GDP. The six-day blockade resulted in an estimated economic loss of $60 billion globally.

Turning to the ongoing conflict in Europe, Admiral Kumar highlighted the disruption of Black Sea shipping lanes.

“This conflict disturbed grain exports from Russia and Ukraine, which together provide 30 per cent wheat, 75 per cent sunflower oil, and 20 per cent maize of the world’s supply,” he said.

The repercussions of this disruption sparked global panic, particularly in North Africa and the Middle East, which heavily rely on grain imports from the region.

Source : Wion

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