New Delhi: India-China maritime rivalry is "not inevitable" as both the countries have a common interest in keeping the sea lines of communication open for their trade and energy flows, National Security Advisor (NSA) Shivshankar Menon said here on Monday.
Addressing a gathering here on the occasion of a book launch, he said the navies of the two countries are also cooperative and have initiated a separate dialogue on maritime security and cooperation.
"In my view Sino-Indian maritime rivalry is not inevitable... Both India and China have a common interest in keeping the sea lines of communication through the Indian and western pacific oceans open. These lines are vital to Indian`s trade and energy flows. So are they for China," he said.
Menon also said that in the last decade presence of both India and China across the Strait of Malacca have become normal.
"That is reality that has happened simultaneously on both sides of the Strait without apparent frictions. These are natural consequences of development of India and China. As we both globalise this will happen... I think these are natural consequences," he said.
The NSA cited their involvement in anti-piracy operations of the two navies in their increasing cooperation.
"The two navies are also cooperative, whether on anti-piracy off the Somali coast, the Gulf of Aden and other instances," he said.
Last year India and China decided to initiate a separate dialogue on maritime security and cooperation and this should offer a way forward for us, he added.
"What is missing in the Indian ocean, the near seas and the Western Pacific is the over-arching security architecture, within which the naval actors and states conduct their activities and cooperate, mitigating conflicts and avoiding competition," Menon said.
He noted that Indian Navy is also building its capability to defend the country`s interests.
"The Indian Navy is building capacity to deal directly and, along with friendly navies, in the Indian ocean to defend the interests of the nation," he said.