India has warned that it is prepared to use force to secure its economic interest in the South China Sea. India has placed allegations that Beijing had deliberately hampered its rival oil and gas exploration efforts.
As China and India rise economically, their military muscle is growing as well. Both need energy to keep that kind of growth going and that may be putting the two Asian giants on a collision course.
Joseph Cheng, a professor at the City University of Hong Kong said, “Because of renewed domestic Nationalism, the Indian government cannot afford to be seen to be weak when dealing with China. Obviously a higher profile will make the Modi led government popular amongst the population”.
Over 200 billion barrels of Oil and large amounts of natural Gas, which is more than what the vast majority of the world’s energy rich nations have is all hidden in the South China Sea. This is probably the main reason why China is so aggressively defending its claim over the vast area. China claims most of the territory for itself but India has also managed to get access to it by buying a stake in a Vietnamese Gas Field. Shortly after Hanoi accused Chinese boats of sabotaging oil explorations efforts, India warned China that it is ready to use force to defend its interest.
Hopefully it should not lead into a long term conflict but it’s in a way inevitable because both India and China have large ambitions of becoming global military powers and dominate their respective backyards.
Both China and India have been pumping billions of U.S. dollars in their armies and navies and holding military drills on a regular basis to maintain military readiness. Beijing has also announced that its naval police will soon start to board and inspect foreign commercial and military vessels entering the South China Sea, something that the Indian Navy will not allow.
Surely the vast oil reserves in the South China sea are too big a cash for neither India or China to pass up. But is it really worth a conflict for two heavy-weight economies to head towards an all-out war because it looks like a game that neither can win.
Both India and China cannot afford any weaknesses and make it easier for other countries to take a bite of the vast resources. The United States have slowly and steadily been stepping up its economic and military presence in the South China Sea and has also committed a large chunk of its naval fleet to protect smaller countries in the region.
The West is trying to depict the expansion of India and China in terms of a clash. For both India and China, the last thing that they want is a military conflict that will send their economies decades behind.
So if the two Asian power houses, India and China cannot share world resources peacefully, they may go to other players and form alliances which will lead to an emergence of another Cold War type era. Signs of that are already visible with India warming up to the United States, Japan, Australia, Vietnam and other smaller countries in the region which are all US allied states.
Source: Defence News – India will not hesitate to use Naval Power to protect economic interest in South China Sea
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