China warns India against oil exploration
"The area is disputed one. So we do not think that it would be good for India to do (explore oil) that," Deputy Director General of Asian Department in Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sun Weidong said.
Asking New Delhi not to get involved in the "disputes", the top Chinese Foreign Ministry official said the sovereignty of the islands in the region was a major issue and India should not carry out oil exploration till resolution of the vexed issue.
"We want common development in the region. We hope Indian side is not involved in those disputes. We hope India would do more to ensure peace and security in the region," Sun told a group of visiting Indian journalists here.
When reminded about commercial nature of India`s oil exploration in the region having huge oil and gas reserves, Sun said the issue was "very complicated" and China was trying its best to find a peaceful solution to the problem.
Asked why China was objecting to India`s exploration projects in the Vietnamese oil blocs when Chinese companies were involved in carrying out infrastructure projects in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), the top official in-charge of India affairs said both the issues are "totally different".
"These are totally different issues. As far as Kashmir is concerned, we always said it was a bilateral issue and both India and Pakistan must resolve it bilaterally," Sun said.
Noting that Chinese companies working in PoK are only focusing on developing the local economy of the area, Sun said there was no change in China`s policy towards resolution of the Kashmir issue.
"I think they (the Chinese companies) are only focused on development of the local economy (in PoK). I do not think it is against anybody… The issue of South China Sea is a very complicated one as many parties are involved in it," he said.
China has been objecting any activity in South China Sea region including Indian oil exploration as it has territorial disputes with some ASEAN countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines.
Unfazed by Chinese objections, India in October last year had inked an agreement with Vietnam to expand and promote oil exploration in South China Sea.
The pact between the Indian and Vietnamese state-owned oil companies includes new investments and the exploration and supply of oil and gas to the two countries.
The Chinese claim on the South China Sea has been rejected by both India and Vietnam, saying as per the UN, the blocks belong to Vietnam. India has said that its state-owned firm would continue to explore in the South China Sea.
India has already made it clear that the entire Indian Ocean region stretching from East African coast to South China Sea remains crucial to its foreign trade, energy and national security.