South China Sea discussed in Manmohan-Wen talks

November 18th, 2011 - 2:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Nusa Dua (Bali), Nov 18 (IANS) India Friday told China that its oil and gas explorations in the South China sea were purely a commercial activity.

In his meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN and East Asia Summits here, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observed that issues of sovereignty should be resolved according to international law.

According to Secretary (East) Sanjay Singh, the prime minister said Indian explorations in oil and gas were purely commercial.

On the Chinese claim on South China sea, where China has voiced concern over India’s deal with Vietnam for oil exploration, New Delhi expressed backing for navigation and rights of passage.

“There is a law of the sea. China accepted the law of the sea. If there are differences, there is a committee to decide whose water it is,” said a source.

The comments came as Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma Thursday warned that conflict in the region would have a major global fallout, especially for those with considerable economic interests there.

Verma, delivering the keynote address at a United Services Institute (USI)-organised seminar, also called for a multilateral security architecture for the Asia-Pacific region that can ensure peace and stability.

“The South China sea, in particular, is an area of significant concern… The developments in the South China Sea and the outcomes will have major implications not only for the countries in the region, but for the world at large, as many nations have considerable economic interests in the region,’ he said.

India has in the recent years entered into a deal with Vietnam under which Indian companies carry out oil exploration and develop oil wells in the South China sea.

With China claiming South China Sea as its territory, Beijing has objected to India carrying out oil exploration in the waters there though New Delhi holds that it was doing so only within Vietnamese territory.

(Minu Jain can be contacted at minu.jain@ians.in)

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