The South China Sea dispute was taken to a whole new level on Tuesday, 9th August, when a state-run Chinese news daily wrote in an article, asking India not to interfere in the South China Sea dispute.
“India may want to avoid unnecessary entanglement with China over the South China Sea debate during Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s New Delhi visit, if the country wishes to create a good atmosphere for economic cooperation, which would include reducing tariffs on made in India products being exported to china, amid the ongoing free trade talk” said an article in the state-run Global Times.
Tensions have been running high in the waters just south of China, with military presence of multiple countries increasing rapidly in the area. The entire South China Sea dispute arose due to multiple countries claiming authority in whole or in part over a particular territory in the South China Sea, comprising two chains of islands, namely the Paracels and the Spratlys. China, Vietnam, Mayasia, Brunei and the Philippines all have competing claims.
In recent times, china has supported its claims by building infrastructure on some of the islands and also by increasing Navy patrolling in the area. The United states on the other hand, has sent its military ships and aircraft near the disputed islands even though they claim not to take sides in territorial disputes. The US has reasoned that their military presence in the area is just to ensure freedom of navigation and access to key shipping routes. The US and china has accused each other of militarising the South China Sea.
India has previously supported the Philippines in many instances and last year, India had extended its support to the Philippines when Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Filipino Counterpart Co-Chaired India-Philippines Third Joint Commission meeting on Bilateral affairs. The statement issued after the meeting referred to the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea, which miffed the Chinese government.
The Chinese government has made it clear that it wants India to stay out of the disputed waters just a few days before its Foreign Minister visits India to discuss economic cooperation between the two countries. The Foreign Ministers of the two countries will meet and discuss on ways in which the export tariffs on made in India products could be reduced.
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