China has obtained approval for exploration of a10,000 sq km polymetallic sulphide ore deposit in an international seabed region in the Indian Ocean, much to the chagrin of India.
According to the China Ocean Mineral Resources Research and Development Association its application for the exploration of the southwest Indian Ocean region had been recently approved by the International Seabed Authority (ISA).
The approval would be followed by signing of a 15-year exploration contract with the ISA later this year, the association said. It added that China would enjoy pre-emptive rights over development of the ore deposit in the future.
According to the state news agency, Xinhua, China has also obtained exclusive rights to prospect in a 75,000-square-km polymetallic nodule ore deposit in the east Pacific Ocean in 2001.
The development is being viewed with concern by Indian authorities in the backdrop of reports that the Directorate of Naval Intelligence ( DNI)) had expressed concern to the Indian government that the contract would provide an excuse for China to operate its warships besides compiling data on the vast mineral resources in India's backyard.
In what is being seen as a preparatory step, China has increased its experiments with its first manned deep sea submersible in the Pacific ocean which recently touched 5,180 meters with three people aboard yesterday.