At least two previous attempts have been made to address the issue of maritime security in the UN Security Council but there was no success. One was made by Equatorial in February 2019 and the other was made by Vietnam in April 2021. However, since the lexicon of current global politics refer ‘maritime security’ as the Chinese actions in the South China Sea, China has been extraordinarily sensitive to this and nixed the previous attempts.
India was however determined to make an impression in its month at the helm of the UNSC and used its considerable diplomatic heft to put together the first standalone session on maritime security which went beyond piracy and crime. The presidential statement which was adopted set put a framework of existing international laws to govern activities in the sea – from UNCLOS to the SUA Convention and a host of others in between. By reaffirming these laws, the message was that enforcing a rules-based order was something countries would push.
The presidential statement did not try to over-reach sticking to subjects that would be acceptable to all members. Indian negotiators were at work on document for the past couple months, trying to get everyone on board. Territorial sovereignty issue do not find mention, neither does illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, both of which were objected by China. Chinese fishing militia has been linked to overfishing in seas as far away as South America, while bullying in South China Sea has made all of south-east.