China is reportedly courting India to be its newest ally on the South China Sea maritime dispute between Beijing and Manila, a move that did not come a surprise to many.
Even before the July 12 ruling of the UN-backed tribunal in The Hague was issued over the maritime zone dispute, China has been rallying for support from other countries. It reportedly got the support of at least 60 countries under its belt.
Indian Support on South China Sea
According to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi is set to leave for India this weekend with an aim of persuading Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to support China’s position on the dispute.
China’s effort to persuade world leaders is one of China’s strategies in countering the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), which virtually favored the Philippines’ cause. In the ruling, the tribunal ruled that China’s self-imposed nine-dash line rule and historical claim have no basis in claiming more than 90 percent of the vast maritime zone.
During his visit to New Delhi, Wang is scheduled to meet his counterpart in India, Sushma Swaraj, on a three-day visit. It was also reported that part of Wang’s agenda during his meeting with Modi is to remind the prime minister that the communiqué of the latest meeting with the 10 member states of the ASEAN has made no reference of the PCA’s decision.
India: Respect UNCLOS
A day after the PCA ruling was issued, India stood its ground that countries involved in the dispute should amicably settle the issue without resorting to any form of aggression.
While India’s stance seemed lukewarm, it sends a clear-cut message when its foreign minister said countries should respect international laws, including the UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“India believes that states should resolve disputes through peaceful means without threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability,” the statement said as reported by the Indian Express.