Kolkata: Hailing India's "positive" role in South China Sea, Vietnamese ambassador Ton Sinh Thanh on Wednesday said China has no right to interfere if India invests in the special economic zones of his country, specially in the sea which falls in Vietnamese territory.
"India has a Act East policy. The position of India is very positive. The position of India in South China Sea is very positive. India believes in peaceful settlement and against use of force in South China sea region in accordance with international law, especially the UN convention on sea," Ton Sinh Thanh told PTI.
Asked to comment on India's investment in South China Sea which has irked China time and again, Thanh said, "If it (investments) is in the exclusive zone of Vietnam, then it has nothing to do with China. China cannot do any harm to the Indian investment in our region."
Thanh's comments comes in the backdrop of China reacting sharply time and again to ONGC bagging exploration contracts by Vietnam.
The ambassador said in order to save its interests in South China Sea, India must have the power to protect its issues.
"If you (India) have interests in the region, then India should play its role. If you have to defend your interest, then you must have strong position to protect it. India has oil and gas exploration project in exclusive economic zone of Vietnam. It is our legitimate right to allow Indian companies to invest money in our water territories," he said.
China is locked in maritime disputes with several countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei. It claims most part of South China Sea, a major global shipping route believed to be home to oil and gas reserves.
"India is a reliable and trusted friend of Vietnam. We have strong political, economic relations. We both are strong strategic partners," he added.