Hello amigos, today we will try to decrypt and simplify the South China Sea dispute and try to understand what it means to India. The South China Sea issue has been the topic of discussion in almost every TV channel and newspaper and therefore it becomes important from the point of view of the personal interview.
WHAT IS SOUTH CHINA SEA
It is a stretch of sea surrounding the Singapore, Malacca and the Taiwan straits. It is a part of the Pacific Ocean. Basically, it is the sea area lying between Vietnam, Indonesia, china (southern) and Taiwan. It is a very important area in many aspects. Not only it is rich in marine habitat, it is also known to be a source of crude oil and natural gas. In addition to this, half of the world’s trade passes from the South China Sea.
Given the advantageous aspects of the region there has been a constant strife going on between seven states namely, china, Taiwan, Indonesia, Brunei, Philippines, Malaysia and Vietnam. As all these states have their land boundaries attached to the South China Sea region, there have been several attempts by these countries to establish their hegemonic control over the region. China being the most powerful country among them is accused of undermining the voice of the other countries and carrying out military and economic (oil exploration) activities in the disputed region. This issue has garnered international interest recently with countries like US, UK expressing their concerns.
55% of the India’s trade with the world passes through the South China Sea. India must have navigational freedom in this region. To counter china, India’s oil company ONGC has invested in Vietnamese oil exploration program in the region. This gives India and its navy a good enough reason to be present there and pay goodwill visits to the disputed countries in the region. Given the look east (now act east) policy of India, its presence in the South China Sea will not only strengthen its ties with the Asia pacific region but also give an opportunity to enhance the bilateral trade. Hence, this region is very strategic from the political and economic point of view.
Given the nuances of the situation India must be careful while taking any steps in any direction in the South China Sea issue. India must ensure peace, security and freedom of navigation in the region without directly intervening into the matter.
I hope this article has helped you to get some hold of the topic. Yours views, suggestions and queries are always welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.