New Delhi: In a move that is likely to irk China, India and Vietnam will sign an agreement today here for oil exploration in South China Sea with the visiting Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung declaring that Indian ships would be allowed into the area despite Chinese protestations.
According to sources, India has decided to accept 2-3 Vietnamese oil blocks in the South China Sea based on the techno-commercial feasibility report by the ONGC Videsh Limited and an agreement in this regard would be inked tomorrow after the talks.
In addition to the current three oil blocks, Vietnam had offered India five oil blocks and the ONGC Videsh Limited was looking at them in terms of their feasibility.
Recently, Vietnam had renewed India's lease of two oil blocks in the South China Sea for another year.
China and Vietnam have an acrimonious relationship due to their standoff over the South China Sea, a major source of hydrocarbons. China has been objecting to India's oil exploration projects in the disputed waters.
Meanwhile, ahead of his talks with Modi, the Vietnamese Prime Minister pitched for India's ‘active support' to peacefully resolve all disputes and sought its greater linkages across the region.
During an interview with PTI, he said, "Vietnam supports India to increase multi-dimensional linkages with South East Asia. For the purpose of friendship and exchange, we have and will continue to allow ships from other countries, including India, to visit Vietnam.”
"Vietnam hopes that India, with its increasingly important role, will make positive and responsible contributions to the maintenance of peace and stability and the region and the world," he said.