India currently has two blocks in the South China Sea. One block was explored earlier by the ONGC Videsh in partnership with a Vietnamese oil company in South China Sea that was later found to be dry.
The issue, however, did not come up for discussion when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in the sidelines of the BRICS summit that recently concluded in Delhi. China issued a warning for the second time, the earlier one being in March that sought to bar India from undertaking oil exploration in the resource-rich Vietnamese blocks so as to ensure peace and stability in the area.
A top Chinese Foreign Ministry official has asked Delhi not to get involved in the disputes and stated that the sovereignty of the islands in the region was a major issue and India should not carry out oil exploration till resolution of the vexed issue.
China has been carrying out the mapping of the South China sea in a calculated move to step up exploration for oil and gas and also to reinforce its territorial claims. The potent South China sea area is located south of China's coast and is connected with narrow straits with Pacific Ocean and covers 3.5 million sq km of the ocean.
China argues that the entire South China sea is their territory with the claims being contested by Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan. These countries stress that the South China sea is part of their maritime waters.