Wednesday, August 13, 2014 – As the tensions continue to grow over the disputes in the South China Sea, External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj asked on Sunday for all nations involved to resolve this issue in a peaceful and coherent manner.
Addressing the fourth East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting at the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Regional Form (ARF) in Naypyidaw, Myanmar on Sunday, she said “India opposes the use or threat of use of force” and backs the freedom of navigation with due acceptance of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. She further emphasised India urges for the implementation of the guidelines within the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.
A petroleum company based in India, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), operates in a number of oil blocks under South China Sea with consent of Vietnam, in the same Phu Khanh basin. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) identified that basin as potentially containing large hydrocarbon deposits. India’s ONGC was given exploration permits in blocks 127 and 128; there are already drilling operations of US’s ExxonMobil, three permits; and Australian Santos, in block 123; as well as other operators such as Origin Energy, Chevron, Plains Exploration and Neon Energy.
China has objected against the Indian presence, calling for foreign countries to stay out of the South China Sea, maintaining China’s claims there as indisputable. China’s sweeping sovereignty claims in the South China Sea clash with several ASEAN nations such as Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei.