If the Indian Ocean has to contribute to the prosperity of different nations, it is necessary that it remains a zone of peace, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval said on Monday.
He was delivering the keynote address at the ‘Galle Dialogue’, held in Sri Lanka’s southern coastal town of Galle. Evoking a 1971 UNGA resolution, on the Declaration of the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace, Mr. Doval said it was important to revisit the resolution mooted by Sri Lanka then “calling upon great powers not to allow escalation and expansion of military presence in the Indian Ocean.”
Mr. Doval’s remarks come at a time when India has been voicing serious concern over China’s growing military presence in the island. In October, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was in New Delhi for a meeting with Mr. Doval and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley where New Delhi raised the issue of a Chinese submarine calling at the port in Colombo.
In his address on Monday, Mr. Doval said India has been a status quoist power in the region for 5,000 years, but it had no aggressive design or strategic reason for dominance that is detrimental to any other country.