China should give a “strong response” to India and Vietnam if they continue their joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea,the state media said today as it alleged that New Delhi was trying to pin down the country by complicating maritime disputes in the region.
Reacting sharply to ONGC’s reported decision to accept Vietnam’s proposal to continue with oil and gas exploration in blocks claimed by Hanoi in South China Sea,reversing earlier move to pull out,official media said the move marks a
complete about-turn in India’s policy on the issue.
An article in the state-run Global Times titled ‘India’s sea oil push politically motivated’ said the change of mind to return Block 128 after an earlier decision that exploration wasn’t commercially feasible possibly related to China’s decision to offer nine blocks including the same block in the South China Sea for joint exploration with foreign companies.
The strategic intention of India’s renewed involvement in the South China Sea issue is obvious. New Delhi wants to further complicate the issue and seeks to pin down China in the area so it could gain dominance in affairs across the region, it said.
Under such circumstances,China must first insist on exerting political pressure over both India and Vietnam,warning them that their joint exploration activities in the South China Sea are illegal and violate China’s sovereignty. If they conduct oil and gas exploration in waters under China’s sovereignty,China should give a strong response, the article said.
Last year Chinese Foreign Ministry issued strong statements against ONGC’s decision to drill oil in the block claimed by Vietnam but subsequently the official media welcomed the Indian oil company’s move to pullout,saying that it would benefit Sino-Indian ties.
Today’s write up said the ‘cooperation between Indian and Vietnamese companies in South China Sea is motivated more by politics than economic interests.’
India believes that the rise of China poses a challenge,and it is trying to find ways to contain China, it said.
To achieve the goal,India has conducted joint military drills and stepped up security cooperation with countries that have disputes with China in the South China Sea, it added.
At the same time,India also wants to strengthen its economic presence in the area. Vietnam’s offer of joint oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea provides an excellent opportunity for India to promote its strategy,” it said.
Meanwhile,China should continue with its own development and exploration of oil and gas in the South China Sea,and step up efforts in protecting natural resources in the area, it said.