Narendra Modi on Monday chaired a United Nations Security Council open debate, becoming the first Indian prime minister do so. Speaking about maritime security, Modi said that barriers must be removed for trade on sea routes.

India took over the rotating presidency of the United Nations Security Council for August from France. This was the first time that maritime security was discussed “as an exclusive agenda item in such a high level open debate”, a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

“For free maritime trade, it is essential that we respect each other’s rights,” Modi said in his virtual address. “The maritime dispute resolution should take place peacefully as per the international law.”

The prime minister said that the sea routes are currently being misused for piracy and terrorism.

He also said that oceans are very important for the future of our planet. “We must stop plastic waste,” he added. “We must act against over-fishing. We must encourage responsible maritime connectivity.”


Apart from maritime security, India had outlined peacekeeping and counterterrorism as its priorities when it assumed the presidency for the month.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will chair an open debate on August 18 about technology and peacekeeping, according to PTI.