New Delhi: Even as China continues to block India’s entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), India has remained neutral over China’s claims to the South China Sea. However, this may no longer be the case.
According to a report, the Indian government is now attempting to squeeze China by making its position clear on China’s claims to the Sea.
India proposed to Singapore last month that the two countries make a specific mention in a joint statement of the international tribunal order in July dismissing China's "historical" rights as claimed by Beijing over almost all of South China Sea waters.
However, this proposal was eventually shot down by Singapore, said the report.
Singapore is not a claimant state in South China Sea and has avoided taking sides in territorial disputes in the region. But India has now approached Japan over the issue, said the report.
India is now discussing including an acknowledgement of the tribunal ruling, which China dismissed as naturally null and void, in a joint statement with Japan which will be issued after the meeting next week between PM Narendra Modi and his counterpart Shinzo Abe.
A joint statement with Vietnam has already been issued during Modi’s visit to Hanoi, and India would like this to serve as a template for similar documents with countries in the region.
Moreover, Japan seems more open to India’s concerns. Japan has said that it ‘encourages India to speak its mind on South China Sea dispute’.
Japan’s role in the conflict is important because it seeks to counter China’s assertiveness in the East China Sea where Beijing is challenging Japan's sovereignty over Senkaku islands.
China had strongly protested Japan’s proposed move to reduce the price of US-2i aircraft to revive the negotiations with India earlier, saying this would be "disgraceful" if it was aimed at applying pressure on China over issues related to South China Sea....