India Navy To Carry Out Navigation Through Seas Off South Coast Of China : Natuna Sea or Is It South China Sea
90 per cent of areas in the Natuna Sea region is claimed by China and they call it South China Sea. However apart from Beijing five other nations also claim some parts of the sea. China also forbids any navigational activities by naval ships in this area, contrary to both Universal conventions and the UN conventions on the subject.
Therefore to counter such a pompous China in its neighbourhood, India expressed intent to carry out navigation activities in the South China Sea.
Making the declaration, Philippine Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana further said navigation in the South China Sea is open to all countries, reported ET.
“We do not prevent other countries from passing through or doing things there in the South China Sea. The British do pass through the South China Sea. The French, all other countries. We do not invite them to come,” the defence minister said.
Philippine concerned over China’s naval exercises
Adding India can also be present in the area, Lorenzana also expressed concerns over China’s naval exercises in the South China Sea.
With nations pre-occupied with fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and China recovering from the deadly impact of the virus, it has been testing international patience by its systematic aggression and assertion in the Himalayas, SCS region and now Bhutan – where Beijing has fixed its eyes on a new area in the eastern part of the country.
The announcement by Lorenzana comes amid telephonic conversation between PM Narendra Modi and Philippine president after which India decided to expand its strategic partnership with the Philippines in the South China Sea region.
Last year navies from India, USA, Philippines and Japan conducted joint sail in the South China Sea region to demonstrate the presence of like-minded parties in the SCS region, reported ET.
USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan in South China Sea
Meanwhile, the US Navy’s two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers – USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan – are present in the South China Sea.
Later, China issued a statement accusing the US of flexing its military muscles in the South China Sea with foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian slamming the US for undermining stability in the area.