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Indian Ocean

Volume 931: debated on Monday 9 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress is being made by the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean which is seeking ways of turning the Indian Ocean into a zone of peace; and what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government in this regard.

The United Kingdom is not a member of the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean. The Committee last met in New York from 18th to 22nd April and intends to meet again from 19th to 23rd of September. We share the desire of the littoral States of the Indian Ocean for some form of arms limitation in the area. However, resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly on the establishment of the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace are ill-defined in scope. In company with over 20 other countries, including the United States, France and the Soviet Union, we have not been able to support them in the form in which they have been presented. We believe that a successful arms limitation agreement would depend upon mutually agreed restraint by the United States and the Soviet Union in the region. We welcome President Carter's recent initiative which has led to United States-Soviet agreement to establish a joint working group on the Indian Ocean.