BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Chinese ambassador Le Yucheng shared opposing views on the contentious issue of South China Sea on Saturday.
At the Deccan Herald’s Dialogue on ‘The Asia Pacific Country: India and Big Power Engagement’ in New Delhi, Le said: “Countries who are from outside or have nothing to do with the region should not meddle into these issues. This will make it worse.” Madhav countered and said the Indian Ocean did not belong only to India, but was shared by other countries of the world and similar is the case with the South China Sea.
“The way China has propelled the global economy in this century, it should also propel peace in the region,” he said.
China claims most of the South China Sea as its own, a position strongly contested by countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Japan and Taiwan.
Madhav, who is involved in several crucial policy formations of the NDA government, said instead of Asia-Pacific, the region should be addressed as Indo-Pacific. Le differed: “It is wrong to call it South China Sea dispute. There has never been a problem of freedom of navigation. Most of the world trade happens through the South China Sea.”
Terming India-China ties as “strong, but difficult”, Madhav said the leaderships had been working to improve it.