China’s observed shift from the so-called ‘nine-dash line’ toward a new legal theory to bolster its claims in the South China Sea (SCS) region could create new challenges for India’s interests in the area.
This shift has been noticed by member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and “is even more serious” than the old claim, according to Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah. He made these comments to local reporters last week.
“Four Sha” (four sands archipelagos) are the four island groups in the SCS region over which Beijing claims it has “historical rights”. The Chinese call them Dongsha Qundao, Xisha Qundao, Zhongsha Qundao and Nansha Qundao.
Internationally they are known as Pratas Islands, Paracel Islands, the Macclesfield Bank area and Spratly Islands.
China’s shifting parameters in the region may cast a shadow on India’s trade, which passes through it, and India’s energy interests in Vietnam.
India has repeatedly called for upholding freedom of navigation and overflight through the SCS.