Beijing: The US is hoping to use India as its “right hand” to counterbalance China’s rise, but New Delhi must understand that its vision cannot be realised by “bashing or containing” China, a leading Chinese daily said on Wednesday. The op-ed article in Global times, against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s fourth visit to the US — and his seventh meeting with President Barack Obama — suggests that “picking one side or camp against the other is not the way India will rise”.
Instead, it says, New Delhi should stick to its “founding principles: independence and non-alignment”. Modi’s visit has been described as a success by most commentators, with India and the US signing key nuclear and climate deals. India is also set to become a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), while the US is backing its inclusion in the elite Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG0, a move that China opposes.
The article says the US interest in India is because of the “transformation of the geopolitical landscape”, specifically “Washington’s rebalance to the Asia-Pacific” and New Delhi’s “strategic significance, economic potential and ideological commonality”. India, on the other hand, hopes that by consolidating its relationship with the US, it will “gain leverage in development and forge an international status that is worthy of its potential”, the article notes.
“Modi has rivetted his interactions with the US on this simple outlook: to make India a veritable powerhouse. He was eager to boost a broader and better economic relationship with the US. He urged the signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, a landmark deal promoting logistics and defence cooperation with the US and he also expects an endorsement from the US to help India become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the last step to solidify India’s status as a nuclear powerhouse.”
The article contends that the US strategy may not play out as it expects, because India is not likely to entirely toe its line. As an example of New Delhi’s assertion of independence, the article cites its “turning down (of) Washington’s invitation to join a patrol in the South China Sea”.
“In the process of fulfilling its ambition to be a major power, India has always employed independent and pragmatic approaches. A balance between other major powers will be its primary and optimal choice,” the article notes.
“Although boasting a western-style democracy, India’s culture and society differs from the West. The Indians know they cannot copy the West exactly, so they will try to find out what is best for them, including foreign relations.”
“Although rivaling China in many aspects, India knows its
great vision cannot be realised by bashing or containing China. Instead, they should expand cooperation, explore the potentials and build mutual trust for their own good. China is more of a help than a competitor for India. This will eventually constitute India’s fundamental understanding of China.”