China gains free hand to explore Indian Ocean; Ind worried?

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Indian Ocean
Beijing, Aug 3: With China's hand stretch towards India becoming more apparent with every passing day, the threat is only slated to increase after China attained the approval to explore a 10,000 sq km polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in an international seabed region in the Indian Ocean.

The fact has not gone down well with India that has been staving off Chinese intrusions into its territory for a while.

A statement from the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association revealed the news on Tuesday. It said that the associations application for the exploration of the southwest Indian Ocean region was approved by the International Seabed Authority (ISA).

Following this, the association is expected to sign a 15-year exploration contract with the ISA later this year, giving China pre-emptive rights to develop the ore deposit in the future. The not-so-friendly neighbour of India has also bagged the exclusive rights to prospect in a 75,000-square-km polymetallic nodule ore deposit in the east Pacific Ocean in 2001.

The matter has been viewed with extreme seriousness with India taking notice of the fact. The worry has been communicated by the Directorate of Naval Intelligence (DNI) stating that this contract would give China a free hand to operate its warships in the territory and give an account of India's vast mineral resources.

Taking into consideration of this new fact, China has stepped up its experiment in the first manned deep sea submersible in the Pacific ocean. This particular project currently touches 5,180 meters with three people aboard. According to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), the submersible named Jiaolong has already engaged in four dives in the Pacific Ocean since July 21.

China is the fifth country to send a man 3,500 meters below sea level, following the United States, France, Russia and Japan. The fact that China with an intention to wield influence on the Indian Ocean has made a "big donation" to the eighth edition of the Indian Ocean Islands Games that will kick off in Seychelles on August 4 has also been taken into cognizance.

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