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UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 15, Dec 2021
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India remained committed to promoting a free, open and rules-based order rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, the Centre recently informed Parliament while reiterating support for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Efforts by India to safeguard maritime interests and strengthen security in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR):

  • India supported freedom of navigation and overflight, and unimpeded commerce based on the principles of international law, reflected notably in the UNCLOS 1982.
  • As a State party to the UNCLOS, India promoted utmost respect for the UNCLOS, which established the international legal order of the seas and oceans.
  • India developed its maritime cooperation with regional partners in consonance with the Government’s vision of Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
  • The steps taken include ‘Mission based Deployments’ of naval ships and aircraft to enhance Maritime Domain Awareness, promote maritime security and address contingencies that may arise.


Adopted and signed in 1982. It became effective in the year 1994.

It replaced the four Geneva Conventions of April, 1958, which respectively concerned the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, the continental shelf, the high seas, fishing and conservation of living resources on the high seas.

  • The Convention has become the legal framework for marine and maritime activities.
  • Also known as Law of the Sea, it divides marine areas into five main zones namely- Internal Waters, Territorial Sea, Contiguous Zone, Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the High Seas.
  • UNCLOS is the only international convention which stipulates a framework for state jurisdiction in maritime spaces. It provides a different legal status to different maritime zones.

The Convention has created three new institutions on the international scene:

  1. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.
  2. The International Seabed Authority.
  3. The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.