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India, China may sign a pact on joint deep sea research in Indian Ocean Region

The Economic Times:  April, 2015

New Delhi: India and China could sign a pact on joint deep sea research in Indian Ocean Region during Narendra Modi's trip to Beijing next month. The deal is significant as it could lead to identification of natural resources for extraction.

The prospective pact that comes amid China's increasing ambitions in Indian Ocean and its Maritime Silk Route Strategy and India's increasing engagements with the nations in the Indian Ocean countries and the periphery of China. The deal could be the take away from Modi's May 14-16 visit to China, diplomatic sources said.

S i n c e I nd i a unveiled its programmes - Project Mausam, Spice Route and Cotton Routes — to connect countries in the Indian Ocean Region and enhanced its footprints across the key countries of the area, Beijing has sent out feelers to India and even stated that MSR could complement Project Mausam and Delhi could benefit from MSR. China also says that it could help India expand its presence in APac.

The two sides have held two rounds of maritime dialogue so far. However, experts said that both sides remain skeptical over joint deep sea research as India has demanded harnessing natural resources in the South China Sea if China harnesses natural resources in Indian Ocean Region. Beijing remains opposed to lndia's presence at oil blocks in the South China Sea region.