Guest Post by Mohit


The issue of south china sea is in news from past many years now, and is very important from the viewpoint of the maritime and economic security of India, the recent activity which took place was that the Chinese have deployed anti-cruise missile and surface to air missile system in region after which it faced heavy criticism from the world and warning from the U.S

In this article, we will know why the south china sea is such a thing which everyone is fighting for


The South China Sea is a part of Pacific ocean that exceeds from Strait of Malacca in the southwest to Strait of Taiwan in northeast And many littoral countries like Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam are part of it.


One of the busiest sea route of the world, one of the main route of global trade worth $5 trillion and is growing year on a year plus it gives trade and strategic control also.

It is a rich source of hydrocarbons and natural resources. All these qualities make it one of the most contested sea routes of the world


The issue of the South China Sea is mostly related to claims of the country.


China wants the implementation of the nine-dash line (which covers most the area of the region)as well as claims on the whole south china sea for which China gives historical claims.


Vietnam is claiming on both Spratly and Paracel island because they are ruling island since the 17th century ( historical claim).


The Philippines claim whole Paracel island on the basis of the geographical claim because they are close to the Paracel island along Scarborough island.


Malaysia wants territorial water and some island in the Spratly group.


Only wants water of south china sea near its boundary.


This dispute of South China Sea goes back In Genesis in 1947 when communist China put the 11-dash line around the region ( in the map that was made for the 1st time) and claimed the region to be theirs these changes in 1949 changed to 9-dash line which covered 80% of the region.T his 9-line also covers the 3 dispute islands – Paracel island, Spratly island, Scarborough Shoal.

This hampered the sovereignty of the other littoral countries so in the mid 20th century to early 21st century (1947 to 2000) countries like Vietnam, Taiwan, Phillippines stared reconstruction of the islands to hold their claim but they did not militarize it.

In the early 21st century (1999) China started building artificial island plus it started the militarization of islands which escalated tensions in the region.

In July 2016 Philippines sued China in Permanent Court of Arbitration(PCA) and the court ruled against China and bound all the countries under the United Nation Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) agreement3, though now every country is signatory of UNCLOS they have still their dispute as China rejected the decision of PCA.


  • After the ruling of the PCA in 2016, India urged all parties to show respect to international maritime law.
  • For the success of India’s “act east policy,” it is essential to have free and extensive trade with ASEAN countries and India also have trade agreements like India – ASEAN FTA and the RCEP and this only happens if China does not intervene in regional stability India in 2006 signed.
  • In 2006 India-Vietnam signed an agreement on commercial oil exploration. China protested against it, however, India remains committed to exploring the commercial potential of the region in partnership with countries like Vietnam and Indonesia.


Peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute can be seen as a litmus test for international maritime law. Major powers in the region like the US, Japan, Australia, ASEAN etc. have taken a stance similar to that of India calling for respect towards international law and maintaining the freedom of navigation and overflight in the region. Peaceful and quick resolution of the dispute is also essential to enhance the growth and prosperity of countries and peoples in the region by sustainable use of the resources contained in the South China Sea. However, the prospects of any such resolution remain bleak in the immediate future, given the aggressive stance taken by the member countries to the dispute.

Submitted by Mohit

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