New Delhi: Against the backdrop of a tiff between India and China over the South China Sea, Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday called for exercising restraint to resolve the issue while pressing for freedom of navigation and access to resources.
"Our view is that all countries should exercise restraint and resolve the issue through dialogues according to principles of international law," Antony said in Jakarta after meeting his Indonesian counterpart Purnomo Yusgiantoro.
The Defence Minister is in Indonesia on a three-day visit.
"India supports the freedom of navigation and access to resources in accordance with principles of international law and these should be respected by all," he said.
In recent times, China and several other countries have been engaged in territorial disputes in the South China Sea territory. China has also objected to oil exploration by Indian companies in partnership with Vietnam.
Talking about the power rivalries in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), Antony said although these are being conducted in local theatres, the impact is felt in the wider regional arena and also, globally.
"We have a stake in the maintenance of peace and stability in our immediate and extended neighbourhood. This includes the entire IOR to our east and west," he said.
The Minister's remarks come in wake of the increasing presence of the Chinese Navy in the IOR and the launch of its latest aircraft carrier 'Varyag'.
"We have a vital stake in the evolution of balance security and cooperation mechanisms through which we can build consensus and pursue dialogue. We seek to improve our partnership with all countries in the IOR on bilateral as well as through multilateral basis," Antony said.


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