NEW DELHI: Vietnam on Wednesday affirmed that India, being its strategic partner, can conduct oil exploration in a part of the South China Sea, despite Beijing’s objection, as it fell under its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh appreciated “strategic partner” India for its “positive” statement on the International Permanent Court’s verdict on South China Sea favouring Philippines’ claim.
Even as Chinese state media “advised” India to refrain from raising the South China Sea issue during the upcoming visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister to New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making a political statement by stopping over in Vietnam en route to China to attend the G-20 summit.
“PM Narendra Modi generally has long visits abroad. When he is going to the G-20, Vietnam is the only country that he will visit bilaterally,” Ton Sinh told selected media representatives here. This is the first visit by an Indian PM to Vietnam in 15 years. Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited Vietnam in 2005. He set the foundation for strategic relations between the two countries that Modi built on by extending `100 crore line of credit for defence purchases to Hanoi.