India’s entry into East Sea

BEIJING. Sep 18, 2011. Watching warily India’s decision to go ahead with oil exploration cooperation with Vietnam in the East Sea despite objections from Beijing, Chinese analysts say it is New Delhi’s counter-strategy to checkmate the forays being made by China into its neighbourhood.

India’s efforts to firm up oil exploration cooperation with Vietnam in the South China Sea, which China claims as its own is a provocative move to show its annoyance over Beijing building up close ties with countries like Myanmar and Pakistan, said Shen Dingli, Director of the Centre for American Studies of Institute of International Studies at China’s Fudan University.

“In recent years, China has also been building up ties with countries like Myanmar… Pakistan invited China to provide safety protection and offered China a naval port on the Indian Ocean. All these moves made India feel nervous,” Shen told state-run Global Times.

Ever since the Indian firm ONGC took up oil exploration in two blocks in the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam, the Chinese official media has extended proactive coverage to it calling on the government to firmly handle it to reassert its supremacy in the region.

Besides China, the disputed waters in the South China Sea are also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia and contain rich oil reserves, estimated up to 28 billion barrels.

The joint exploration between India and Vietnam is not accidental since in recent years India has taken an increasingly eastward-looking stance, Wu Xinbo, Professor at the Centre for American Studies, Fudan University, said.

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