New Delhi: India on Thursday dismissed Chinese objections over its oil exploration projects in two Vietnamese blocks in the South China Sea, saying its cooperation with Vietnam was as per international laws and it would like the cooperation to grow.
Noting that there was an active programme of trade and economic cooperation with Vietnam, External Affairs Ministry official Spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said cooperation in the area of energy, hydrocarbon as well as renewable energy was one of the important facets of it.
He was replying to a question on China asking India and other countries to refrain from oil exploration in maritime areas offered by Vietnam in the South China Sea, claiming it enjoys "indisputable sovereignty" there.
He said ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has been in Vietnam for quite sometime in offshore oil and natural gas exploration field and that they were in the process of further expanding cooperation and operation and Essar, a subsidiary of Essar oil Ltd, has also been awarded a gas block in Vietnam.
"This is one important area of cooperation and we would like this area of cooperation to grow. Our cooperation with Vietnam or with any other country for that matter in the world is always as per as international laws, norms and conventions," Prakash said.
He also reiterated India`s position that New Delhi "supports freedom of navigation in South China Sea and hopes that all parties to the dispute would abide by the 2002 declaration of conduct in South China Sea."
The issues are expected to find a place in the Joint Commission Meeting, to be co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna along with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh, in Hanoi tomorrow.
China warns India on maritime explorations
The ongoing tension between India and China has taken a new turn with the Dragon nation issuing a warning to its neighbouring country asking it to refrain from any oil exploration in the disputed South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said that India should avoid any agreement with Vietnam in the area, saying that China enjoys an indisputable sovereignty in the region.
“Our consistent position is that we are opposed to any country engaging in oil and gas exploration and development activities in waters under China`s jurisdiction,” she said in reply to a question that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is planning to come up with exploration projects in two blocks that Vietnam claims.
The tension between China, Vietnam, Philippines and some other nations in the areas has flared up in recent times amidst allegations that Chinese navy is continuously encroaching their areas.
China’s warning came at a time when Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna is scheduled to visit Hanoi this week.
Just recently, Chinese troops had also entered Indian territory in the Leh region and demolished bunkers.