Thread: #India will stand firm on oil and gas cooperation with #Vietnam and will not let any other country to get in the way - India will not reconsider its oil and gas cooperation with Vietnam, said Geeta Kochhar…
Kochhar made the judgment in the context of China's illegal oil & gas activities in the South China Sea, including the deployment of Chinese oil survey vessel Haiyang Dizhi 8 and its escorts to Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
"If China really wants to be assertive of not letting India cooperate with Vietnam, I do not think India would accept that & they should not accept that," Kochhar said Tuesday on the sidelines of a conference on India's relations with neighboring countries held Tuesday in Hanoi.
She added that the competition in oil & gas cooperation should not be converted into any kind of confrontation, and it is not fair if China has some objections to India’s cooperation with Vietnam because China itself also cooperates with Vietnam & other countries, such as Nepal.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined on "not accepting any kind of domination or control by any powers in the region," she said. "Vietnam plays a pivotal role in India’s Look East policy," given its strategic location in the South China Sea.
New Delhi has cooperated with Hanoi in offshore oil exploration in the waters of the South China Sea since 1988 and India's attention in cooperating with Vietnam in the sea is not merely economic, but for military and security interests as well.
t is imperative for India to call for freedom of navigation in the region as around 40 percent of its global trade passes through the South China Sea. In addition to economic concerns, what worries India much more is the geopolitical competition.
"China's militarization of the South China Sea is widely seen as a roadblock to the open & free Indo-Pacific region & will result in significant changes to the 29 sea lanes of communications passing through the region, trillions of dollars of trade passage & other resources"
If, for Beijing, the Indian Ocean is not an India's ocean, India's imperative is to contest impressions that the South China Sea waters fall under China's control. "Additionally, the South China Sea is the gateway to the Pacific region and the center of the Indo-Pacific region,"
Both Fang and Dahiya mentioned the fact that China has more than once requested India and Vietnam to stop their oil and gas cooperation, but it has failed to cut the bonds between the two countries.
On August 2, Indian External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar confirmed that India would like to continue its oil and gas cooperation with Vietnam in the sea in a meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh in Bangkok.
India, a staunch ally in Vietnam's fight for independence and reunification, is also one of Vietnam's top trading partners, with two-way trade turnover reaching $10.69 billion last year, double that of 2016, according to the Vietnam Trade Affairs Office in India.
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