China begins naval exercises in South China Sea (SCS)
Recently, China has also started a five-day naval exercise in the disputed South China Sea amid military exercises being conducted by the US in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The Indian Navy is also deploying a Naval Task Group in the South China Sea, the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia. Its objective is to increase its influence in strategically important maritime routes.
- Recently, India presented the opinion at the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) that the code of conduct on the South China Sea should be fully in line with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), 1982.
Significance of South China Sea:
Strategic Location: It is a major sea route connecting Asia with Europe and Africa.
Natural Resources: It is estimated that SCS has extensive reserves of natural gas and oil.
ONGC Videsh is an overseas arm of Oil & Natural Gas Limited (ONGC). It holds 45% and 100% stake respectively in 2 hydrocarbon blocks in Vietnam.
Issues related to South China Sea:
Violation of international rules: China rejected the decision of the UNCLOS arbitration tribunal in 2016. That decision held that China could not claim historical rights to water resources within the ‘nine-dash line’ that covers most of the South China Sea.
- It is an international agreement resulting from the United Nations Convention on the Third Sea Law (UNCLOS II).
- It defines the rights and responsibilities of those countries in relation to the use of the world’s oceans by countries, along with setting guidelines for the business, environment and management of marine natural resources.
- India had signed this convention in the year 1982 and ratified it in the year 1995.
Source – The Hindu