South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment.

In the recent years the south china sea has become very significant in the geopolitical rivalries of the world because of its expected natural resources and the strategic reasons. The south china sea is one of the most disputed sea in the world, is a part of the pacific ocean.There is a constant tussle between the countries China, Taiwan, Philippines,Brunei,Malaysia and Vietnam for the uninhabited islands in the sea.

Reasons for the increased geopolitical significance of the south china sea:

Economic reasons:

  1. The south china sea has a lot of untapped natural resources like oil and natural gas. The claims over the parcel islands and Spratly Islands is primarily because of this.
  2. There is a lot of scope for fishing in this region. Claims over the islands will increase the exclusive economic zone for the countries which will allow them to do fishing exclusively.

Strategic reasons:

  1. The south china sea connects Indian ocean and the Pacific Ocean. With over 25% of world trade passing through the Malacca strait, the control over this region is very important for the countries.
  2. Control over the uninhabited islands will enhance countries the maritime attack and defence capabilities.
  3. Tussle for Hegemony between US and China: The engagement of US with its partners like Philippines in the south china sea militarily is a cause for concern for the China. The trade wars between US and China could result in proxy wars in the region. The ASEAN is a very big grouping and having an influence over this will change the world order.

Though India doesn’t have any direct claim over the islands, the stability of the region is in India’s Interest. Indian stakes in the region have increased with its act east policy and greater global ambitions like the UNSC permanent seat.

With China going against the established international norms like the UNCLOS, UN resolution and International courts, it is high time the world takes steps to keep a check on China’s sense of power. The world must make sure Peaceful bilateral talks takes place and they also demilitarise the zone to ensure peace, stability and prosperity of the region.

Question for UPSC Mains:
South China Sea has assumed great geopolitical significance in the present context. Comment.

Published: December 5, 2016 | Modified:October 15, 2020