The European Union (EU) and India are committed to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific, based on respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and freedom navigation and overflight, the influential group said on Monday. The claim came after the EU and India conducted a joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden on June 18-19 to improve operational interoperability and promote peace and security on major waterways.

The EU also said the two sides would like to strengthen cooperation in the field of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region. In January, the EU27 and India launched a dialogue on maritime security and agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in this area.

“The EU and India are committed to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region, based on respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, democracy, the state rights, transparency, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded legal trade and peaceful settlement of disputes, ”the bloc said in a statement. He said both sides reaffirm the primacy of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

The grouping also said the two sides want to strengthen cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Developments in the Indo-Pacific region following China’s increase in military might have become a major topic of discussion among major world powers.

In April, the EU presented a comprehensive strategy for the Indo-Pacific, listing its priorities and vision for the region which, according to the bloc, represents the “economic and strategic center of gravity of the world”. The European Union Navy and Naval Force (EUNAVFOR) in Somalia saw the participation of a total of five warships.

EUNAVFOR is the EU’s anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia. “The exercise was based on the scenario of an anti-piracy operation. It included helicopter landings on multiple decks, complex tactical evolutions at sea, live fire, a joint night patrol and a naval parade on the high seas off the Somali coast, “the EU said.

The Indian Navy provided escort to World Food Program chartered vessels, coordinated by EUNAVFOR Somalia. “The EU and India intend to strengthen their operational cooperation at sea, including joint naval exercises and stopovers, and to protect sea lines of communication. They also intend to strengthen the knowledge of the maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific through coordination and mutual exchanges, ”the EU said.

“The EU and India reaffirm their interest in strengthening their cooperation in the field of maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region,” he added.

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