China gains rights to explore Indian Ocean

China has obtained approval to explore a 10,000 sq km polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in an international seabed region in the Indian Ocean.

Beijing: China has obtained approval to
explore a 10,000 sq km polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in an
international seabed region in the Indian Ocean, much to the
disquiet of India.

The China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and
Development Association in a statement last night said that
its application for the exploration of the southwest Indian
Ocean region was recently approved by the International Seabed
Authority (ISA).

Following the approval, the association will sign a
15-year exploration contract with the ISA later this year,
adding that China will enjoy pre-emptive rights to develop the
ore deposit in the future.

China had also obtained exclusive rights to prospect
in a 75,000-square-km polymetallic nodule ore deposit in the
east Pacific Ocean in 2001, state-run Xinhua reported.

The move has already raised concerns in India with
reports stating that Directorate of Naval Intelligence (DNI)
has expressed concern to the Indian government that the
contract would provide an excuse for China to operate to
operate its warships besides compiling data on the vast
mineral resources in India`s backyard.

Apparently in preparation for this, China has stepped
up its experiments with first manned deep sea submersible in
the Pacific ocean which currently touched 5,180 meters with
three people aboard yesterday.

According to State Oceanic Administration (SOA), the
submersible named Jiaolong has conducted four dives in the
Pacific Ocean since July 21.

Jiaolong is designed to reach a maximum depth of 7,000
meters expected sometime next year.

It completed 17 dives in the South China Sea between
May 31 and July 18 last year, reaching 3,759 meters during its
deepest dive.

China is the fifth country to send a man 3,500 meters
below sea level, following the United States, France, Russia
and Japan.

Meanwhile, in another bid to expand its influence in
the Indian Ocean region, China has made a "big donation" to
the eighth edition of the Indian Ocean Islands Games that will
kick off in Seychelles on August 4.

The sponsorship from the Guandong People`s Association
for Friendship with Foreign Countries, was made through the
Chinese embassy in Seychelles at a ceremony held Thursday at
the Roche Caiman sports complex in the southern suburb of
Victoria, capital of the Seychelles, Xinhua reported.

The donation which was accepted by Seychelles
consisted of equipment worth USD thee lakhs.

With this donation China becomes the biggest single
sponsor of the Indian Ocean Islands Games. The sponsorship
includes LCD screens, laptop computers and T-shirts, the news
agency reported.

The Indian Ocean Islands Games is the largest sports
event regrouping the islands of the southwest Indian Ocean
regions, namely the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion,
Mayotte and Seychelles.

It is the second time in 18 years that Seychelles
hosts the Indian Ocean Islands Games.

The sports event that will end on August 14 is
expected to attract some 2,000 athletes from these islands.


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