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Pramod asked: What is India’s stand on Diaoyu Island issue and South China Sea?

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  • R.N. Das replies: The East China Sea dispute is a bilateral issue between China and Japan. India is not a party to this dispute. Government’s position is that sovereignty issues must be resolved peacefully by the countries which are parties to the dispute. As regards India’s stand on South China Sea, it may be mentioned that the ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), in collaboration with Vietnamese companies, has been engaged in exploration activity in the South China Sea since 1988. During Prime Minister’s meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Bali in November 2011, China, which is party to the South China Sea dispute, raised its concerns on India’s hydro carbon exploration and exploitation projects in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam. Government has clearly conveyed that such activity by Indian companies is purely commercial in nature and that the dispute must be resolved peacefully by the countries concerned. It may also be noted that the OVL has already taken a decision to withdraw from Bloc 128, as it is found that it is not economically and technically viable for oil exploration. Earlier, it had withdrawn from Bloc 127 on similar grounds.