Soon after the US rejected most of China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea, India has asserted that South China Sea is “part of global commons” and that India firmly stands for the freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in these international waterways.
Asked about US’ assertion, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said that India has articulated its position on South China Sea on several occasions in the past, most recently on May 21, 2020.
“Our position on this issue has been clear and consistent. South China Sea is a part of global commons and India has an abiding interest in peace and stability in the region. We firmly stand for the freedom of navigation and overflight and unimpeded lawful commerce in these international waterways, in accordance with international law, notably UNCLOS,” Srivastava said.
He said India also believes that any differences be resolved peacefully by respecting the legal and diplomatic processes and without resorting to threat or use of force.
Earlier, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had said that China’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea were “completely unlawful, as is its campaign of bullying to control them”.
“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire. America stands with our Southeast Asian allies and partners in protecting their sovereign rights to offshore resources, consistent with their rights and obligations under international law,” Pompeo said.
Beijing claims almost all of the 1.3 million square mile South China Sea as its sovereign territory. China has been building military bases on artificial islands in the region also claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.