Amid increasing sparring between China and its neighbours over disputed oil blocks in the South China Sea, India today said the region was key to its energy security and the conflict must be resolved peacefully as per international laws.
Expressing concern over the escalating tension in the area, India's Ambassador to Vietnam Ranjit Rae said half of India's export and import go through the South China Sea and India considers itself as an integral part of the archipelagos and its development.
"The dispute should be resolved as per international laws. The South China Sea is very important and there should be safety and security of the international ships so that import and export are not affected," he said here.
China has been opposing resolution of the dispute under international laws and insisting on resolving the issue through bilateral talks with respective countries.
Fresh tension engulfed the region after China deployed four surveillance naval ships to patrol the South China Sea in a bid to assert its sovereignty over a host of islands, which were also claimed by a number of states including Vietnam and Philippines as part of their exclusive economic zone.
The situation deteriorated last week after China's state-owned oil firm China National Offshore Oil Corporation called for bids from foreign companies offering exploration of oil in nine blocks in South China Sea sparking off protests in Hanoi.
Vietnam said the oil blocks belong to its exclusive economic zone.
Sources here said part of the oil block number 128, which was contracted to ONGC for oil exploration by Petro Vietnam also fell under the blocks that CNOOC put up for bidding.