A week before Indian Prime Minister Narendara Modi is set to visit the country, China said it was ‘eager to cooperate’ with India on deep sea mining in the Indian Ocean, reports Press Trust of India.
China's sweetheart deal is to break through India's resistance to its attempt to access the Indian Ocean. It is offering India an opportunity to participate in joint seabed mining in the ocean, where large deposits of gold and silver have reportedly been discovered.
"With quickening oceanic development and increasing mineral exploration in the Indian Ocean, China is eager to cooperate with India on deep seabed mining," the China Daily quoted China Ocean Mineral Resource R&D Association as saying.
The association, which is China's official organization, undertakes exploration and development of ocean floor and subsoil.
The surprise proposal comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's three-day visit to China starting
May 14. The issue is likely to figure in the official level talks.
The offer of joint seabed exploration was made recently by Chen Lianzeng, deputy director of China's State Oceanic Administration, who visited India on April 20. He also suggested the two countries enhance cooperation on oceanic research and development.
Calling India an ‘ideal partner’, deputy director of the association He Zongyu said there would be numerous chances for cooperation between the two countries in the future as they are both developing countries and common contractors with the International Seabed Authority (ISA).
“If we cooperate, we could share the costs, the risks and the benefits,” He said.