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India Treads Lightly Following UN Rejection of Chinese Claims

Sputnik News

17:22 12.07.2016(updated 17:35 12.07.2016)

The Indian response to an international court decision regarding the South China Sea has been cautious. India's government has responded by saying that they are studying it carefully.

NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – "India has noted the Award of the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under Annex 7 of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in the matter concerning the Republic of the Philippines and the Peoples Republic of China and is studying it carefully," Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarup stated.

The Arbitration Tribunal in the Hague has rejected China's claim to have economic rights to large parts of the South China Sea.

"There was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line," the Permanent Court of Arbitration said on Tuesday.

"Clearly this is slap in China's face, but I think it is something that they have been preparing for. They knew that their claims were not going to be valid; they are not legitimate. They have based their claim to the South China Sea on historical facts and that is not valid in the International Court. This is a big win for the Philippines because clearly the verdict says that the Philippines' sovereignty has been violated; their basic fishing rights have been abrogated. There are several issues on which China has been found violating," Rajeswari Rajagopalan, a Senior Fellow with the Observer Research Foundation told Sputnik in an exclusive interview.

N N Jha, a former Indian Diplomat, told Sputnik that "The decision of the International Court has been significant but what remains to be seen is China's attitude. China is very possessive and aggressive about the South China Sea, so it would further aggravate the problem. Now the US and its allies, along with littoral countries will put pressure on China to abide by the decision of the International Court."

China is still adamant regarding its earlier stand and denounces the decision of the International Court. It said that it does not accept and does not recognize the Hague tribunal's judgment.

"Chinese military will resolutely protect the country's national sovereignty, security and maritime rights and interests and will address threats and challenges," said Yang Yujun, Spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of National Defense.

China legally claims the nine-dash line according the map published by China in 1947, which other countries believe contravenes the UN Law of the Sea. Last year, the Philippines filed a case against China's claim using the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was signed both by the Philippines and China. It dictates that nations have an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) stretching 200 nautical miles from their shores, but China's nine-dash line claim overlaps with the EEZ of several countries.

China's stern stance on the South China Sea will further complicate the issue and will destabilize peace throughout the South-East Region.


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