NEW DELHI: The Sino-Indian ties have taken a hit with China blocking India’s entry into NSG and also preventing UN from sanctioning Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar but India seems to have finally decided it’s payback time.
India proposed to Singapore last month that the 2 countries make a specific mention in a joint statement of the international tribunal order in July this year dismissing China’s “historical” rights as claimed by Beijing over almost all of South China Seawaters, top sources said.
While India’s proposal, which was made in the run up to the visit by Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong, was eventually shot down by Singapore, it indicates a resolve to articulate forcefully China’s non-compliance with international law even as Beijing throws cold water on India’s NSG bid citing New Delhi’s refusal to sign NPT.
Singapore is not a claimant state in South China Sea and has avoided taking sides in territorial disputes which involve, apart from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, ?the Philippines and Brunei. That is why Singapore struck down India’s proposal as it did not want to go into the specifics by mentioning the Tribunal ruling.
India is now discussing including an acknowledgement of the Tribunal ruling, which China dismissed as naturally null and void, in a joint statement with Japan which will be issued after the meeting next week between PM Narendra Modi and his counterpart Shinzo Abe.?
India seems to want the joint statement with Vietnam, issued after Modi’s visit to Hanoi in September, to serve as a template for similar documents with countries in the region. The document with Vietnam was unique because apart from the usual references to freedom of navigation and over flight, and respect for international law, it also noted “the Award issued on 12 July 2016 of the Arbitral Tribunal constituted under the Annex VII to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Laws of Sea (UNCLOS)”.
While Singapore chose not to jointly acknowledge the Award, ?Japan will be an entirely different kettle of fish in how it reacts to such a proposal. In a first, Japan officially told TOI recently (as reported on October 24) that it was encouraging India to speak its mind on South China Sea disputes. Japan is growing increasingly wary of China’s assertiveness in East China Sea where Beijing is challenging Japan’s sovereignty over Senkaku (China calls these Diaoyu) islands.