New Delhi: Amid rising tensions over China’s military buildup in the South China Sea, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Tuesday said that the principle of “might is right” cannot be used for governing oceans and when large countries respect international laws, smaller ones take note.
Speaking at the inaugural session of Raisina Dialogue, India’s annual flagship event on geopolitics organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Solberg said successful cooperation depends on a robust and predictable legal and institutional framework in the ocean space.
The event was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and foreign ministers of several countries, including Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Noting that there is growing evidence that temperature swings in the Arctic are affecting the melting of snow in the Himalayas and the Indian monsoon, Solberg said her country was looking forward to India’s engagement in the work of the Arctic Council.
The Arctic Council is a forum for discussion on issues of common interest relating to the Arctic. India is now an observer state, along with several other Asian countries. India and Norway are among only a few countries in the world conducting research activities at both the North Pole and the South Pole, she noted.
She said successful cooperation depends on a robust and predictable legal and institutional framework in the ocean space. In this regard, she said the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) provides the legal framework for ocean diplomacy. India and Norway, she said, share similar values and emphasise on international norms and laws.
“The rules-based international order has served Norway well,” she said. A concrete example, she pointed out, is the settlement of the maritime boundary dispute between Norway and Russia in 2010.
“We commend India for respecting the rulings of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on the question of disputed maritime areas. One thing is sure, when large countries respect international law, smaller countries take note.
“The principle ‘might is right’ cannot be used as a basis for governing our oceans, or anything else, for that matter,” she said.
Solberg said global security threats require global responses and that the areas of conflict and instability are breeding grounds for violent extremism and international terrorism. She said in the fight against violent extremism, the root causes must be addressed.