New Delhi: A senior Chinese official on Thursday said India would pay a heavy price for exploring oil in the disputed South China Sea.
The warning by Wu Shicun, president of the National Institute for South China Sea Studies (NISCSS), came a day after China lost political round on the issue at the ASEAN summit in Cambodia.
"China will not stand any joint cooperation in our claimed maritime areas," said Shicun, referring to a joint exploration project by ONGC-Videsh and a Vietnam’s oil company in South China Sea.
"There are a lot of economic and political risks" for the Indian oil company, said Shicun, adding that the Indian side involved in exploring oil should do a proper cost benefit analysis.
Shicun, who also advises the Chinese government on the South China Sea dispute, said India and Japan should "play a positive role in pushing for settlement" of the dispute.
Notably, the issue did not come up during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with Chinese Presiden Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Delhi in March.
China had warned India last month too to stay off from undertaking oil exploration in the resource-rich Vietnamese blocks in a bid to ensure "peace and stability" in the area.
"The area is disputed one. So we do not think that it would be good for India to do (explore oil) that," Deputy Director General of Asian Department in Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sun Weidong had said.
Asking New Delhi not to get involved in the "disputes", the top Chinese Foreign Ministry official said the sovereignty of the islands in the region was a major issue and India should not carry out oil exploration till resolution of the vexed issue.
"We want common development in the region. We hope Indian side is not involved in those disputes. We hope India would do more to ensure peace and security in the region," Sun had told a group of visiting Indian journalists.