Government today said it was aware that China was planning exploration of polymetallic sulphides in South west Indian ocean ridge but the area was beyond national jurisdiction of any state.
"Government is aware that the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has approved the plan of work for exploration of polymetallic sulphides by China Mineral Resources Research and Development Association (COMRA)," Minister of State in the External Affairs ministry E Ahamed said in response to a Rajya Sabha question.
"The Chinese plan of work for exploration in the southwest Indian Ocean ridge is an area beyond the national jurisdiction of any state," Ahamed said, adding the Government is keeping a watch on all developments having a bearing on national interest.
Polymetallic sulphides are found around volcanic springs on the seabed and are thought to contain larger quantities of metals, especially gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper.
Responding to another question, Ahamed said the South China sea was disputed between many countries but India was not a party to the dispute.
Referring to Chinese concerns about India's hydrocarbon exploration in the area, he said the government had conveyed that such activity by Indian companies is clearly commercial in nature and that sovereignty issues must be resolved peacefully by countries which are party to the dispute.
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