The state-run China Daily says that India's plans to conduct oil exploration off Vietnam coast in the South China Sea is "illegal and is an "unwise move" that may "sabotage" positive momentum in ties.
"India's intention to once again explore for oil in the disputed waters of the South China Sea is an unwise move, as it will further complicate the maritime disputes and do a disservice to maintaining the positive momentum that has been achieved in China-India ties," the China Daily said in an editorial.
Titled 'India should rethink its oil exploration plans', the editorial said according to reports India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation plans to restart exploration activities in the waters off Vietnam's coastline which are "also claimed by China".
Meanwhile, China's nationalist tabloid Global Times reported that India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is ready to move an oil platform into the South China Sea to help the Vietnamese government explore for natural resources beneath disputed waters in the region.
The Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Videsh Limited, the overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corp, signed a production-sharing contract with PetroVietnam, the state-run oil company of the Southeast Asian country, to explore a section of the South China Sea known as Block 128, currently under Vietnamese control.
Vietnam initially looked at an area designated Block 127 but it showed few prospects. Thus the 7,058 square kilometers of Block 128, which lies in the Phu Khanh Basin, will be the main exploration site, according to Bloomberg.