By Tendar Tsering
DHARAMSHALA, September 19: With border disputes between India and China still unresolved despite series of border talks over the years, tension has now brewed between the two countries over their influence in the sea.
A few months back, China reacted with diplomatic protest to India’s proposed projects of oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea off Vietnam. It again warned India last week to keep off from the disputed Sea.
India shot back by asking China to step back from involving in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, and its External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna visited Vietnam where he signed agreements with Vietnamese foreign minister last week.
Krishna told reporters that "despite China's opposition," India's state-owned oil companies will "continue to look for oil and gas in the South China Sea resources." Media reports quoted Krishna as saying that Vietnam have agreed to 'fully support’ India.
India has also expressed its strong support for the freedom of navigation in international waters including the South China Sea where Chinese and Vietnamese boats clashed recently leading to tensions between the two.
Former Indian intelligence personnel and noted expert on China, B. Raman, is of the view that India is “seeking to take a position on the island territories for the first time under the de facto control of Vietnam by accepting Vietnamese claims of de jure sovereignty over them."
"This is a position with inherent seeds of an undesirable military confrontation between India and China in the South China Sea itself and subsequently or simultaneously across the land borders between the two countries," writes Raman.