India: Have ‘interest in peace’ in South China Sea region
Against the backdrop of a tense standoff between China and Vietnam in the South China Sea that had cast a shadow on oil and gas production by ONGC Videsh, India on Thursday said it has an “abiding interest in the peace and stability” in the region.
A standoff between China and Vietnam eased earlier this month after a Chinese survey vessel and warships escorting it withdrew from Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone. Vietnam had earlier informed India of the tensions arising from the deployment of the Chinese survey vessel close to waters where state-owned ONGC Videsh is engaged in oil and gas production.
Asked about the matter at a regular news briefing, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “South China Sea is part of the global commons. India, therefore, has an abiding interest in the peace and stability in the region. India firmly stands for the freedom of navigation and over-flight, and unimpeded lawful commerce in the international waters in accordance with international laws, notably UNCLOS (UN Convention for the Law of the Sea).”
India, Kumar said, believes any differences in the South China Sea “must be resolved peacefully by respecting the legal and diplomatic processes, and without resorting to threat or use of force”.
Almost 55 % of India’s trade is through this region.