UNSC Open Debate | PM Modi says maritime routes being misused for piracy and terrorism, moots five principles

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday evening chaired a high-level UNSC Open Debate on ‘Enhancing Maritime Security – A Case for International Cooperation’.

In his initial remarks during the event that was held via video conferencing, PM Modi described maritime routes as the lifelines of international trade.

“Oceans are our shared heritage and our maritime routes are the lifelines of international trade. These oceans are very important for the future of our planet,” the PM said. “This shared heritage of ours (oceans) is facing several types of challenges. Maritime routes are being misused for piracy and terrorism,” he added.

“We want to make an inclusive framework on maritime security in our region based on the vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region). This vision is for a safe, secure, and stable maritime domain,” PM Modi noted.

Highlights of PM Modi’s remarks during UNSC Open Debate: 

A number of countries have maritime disputes. And climate change, as well as natural disasters, are also connected topics.

I wish to put forward five basic principles:

1. We should remove barriers to legitimate maritime trade. Our shared growth is dependent on the smooth flow of maritime trade. Such barriers can prove to be a challenge for the global economy

2. Maritime disputes should be resolved peacefully and as per international law. This is crucial for mutual trust and confidence. We will be able to ensure global peace and stability through this approach only.

3. We should collectively tackle the maritime threats presented by natural disasters and non-state actors. India has taken several steps to enhance regional cooperation on this front. We have been first responders to cyclones, tsunami and pollution-related ocean calamities.

4. We have to preserve the maritime environment and maritime resources. We all know that oceans directly impact climate. That is why we have to protect our maritime environment from pollution like plastics and oil spills.

5. We should promote responsible maritime connectivity. This is clear that to increase maritime trade, we have to build the necessary infrastructure. But, a country’s fiscal sustainability and absorption capacity should be kept in mind while taking up such infrastructure projects.


As per the Prime Minister’s Office, PM Modi is the first Indian prime minister to preside over a UN Security Council Open Debate. The PMO said Sunday that the agenda of the open debate is to discuss ways to tackle maritime crime and insecurity effectively, as well as enhance coordination in the maritime domain.

The PMO had noted that though the UNSC had in the past taken up and passed resolutions on various aspects of maritime security and maritime crime, it will be the first occasion when maritime security will be discussed in a holistic manner as an exclusive agenda item in such a high-level Open Debate.

“Given that no country alone can address the diverse aspects of maritime security, it is important to consider this subject in a holistic manner in the United Nations Security Council. A comprehensive approach to maritime security should protect and support legitimate maritime activities, while countering traditional and non-traditional threats in the maritime domain,” the PMO said.

“The oceans have played an important part in India’s history right from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization. Based on our civilizational ethos that sees the seas as an enabler of shared peace and prosperity, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi put forward the vision of SAGAR – an acronym for ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region’ in 2015.  This vision focuses on cooperative measures for sustainable use of the oceans, and provides a framework for a safe, secure, and stable maritime domain in the region. In 2019, at the East Asia Summit, this initiative was further elaborated through the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI) with a focus on seven pillars of maritime security including Maritime Ecology; Maritime Resources; Capacity Building and Resource Sharing; Disaster Risk Reduction and Management; Science, Technology and Academic Cooperation; and Trade Connectivity and Maritime Transport,” it added.


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