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PM Modi’s US Visit: Chinese Media Highlights India’s Policy of Non-Alignment

Raj Kumar Sharma writes: The article in Global Times says that India cannot rise by containing China, but its reverse is equally true that China too cannot rise by containing India. Success of any containment strategy in age of globalization is difficult and it is time that India and China cooperate in true strategic realm as well.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US has attracted attention from Chinese media which sees strategic reasons behind frequent meetings between PM Modi and President Obama. A commentary by China’s official news agency, Xinhua, says that “For Obama, improving U.S.-India ties will help consolidate his diplomatic legacy as seven months are left before he leaves office; for Modi, his visit is aimed at seeking new momentum for developing ties with Washington”.[1] The fact that it is PM Modi’s fourth US visit since he assumed office two years ago has been very well highlighted. The Xinhua commentary also says that PM Modi was banned from entering the US just a few years ago but now, he has been greeted by a flag-bearing military honour guard. Embracing India will help consolidate the US rebalance to the Asia-Pacific, according to the commentary.

Another article in the Global Times says “The transformation of the geopolitical landscape is the major driver drawing the US and India much closer.”[2] It also adds that for India, the US can solidify its status as a nuclear powerhouse by helping it to become a member of Nuclear Suppliers Group. For the US, India could help in counterbalancing China. It must be mentioned that Global Times is run by People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party. Similar thoughts have been echoed in an article in Jiefang Daily, the official daily of the Shanghai Committee of Communist Party of China. The article says that “roping in India can intensify the effect of Asia Pacific Rebalancing strategy of the US. It also highlights the fact that over the past five years, US India arms sales contracts value around USD 14 billion and the US has overtaken Russia as India’s biggest arms exporter.[3] The three articles have concluded by saying that India does not have a history of siding with major powers and follows non-aligned foreign policy due to which a US-India alliance is unlikely.

It is evident from these articles that China remains concerned about any potential US-India alliance which could be a nightmare scenario for Beijing, as it would impact China’s India Ocean plans and its energy security, since most of its oil and trade with West Asia and Africa passes through IOR. India has been careful about China’s sensitivities but China has been strengthening its alliance with Pakistan which has far more serious implications for India. Seeing China’s stubborn behavior vis-a-vis Indian security concerns, Indian foreign policy has been more active under PM Modi who has been engaging the US and Japan in order to show China that India would respect China’s security concerns only if China pays attention to Indian security concerns. Being a responsible power, China should try to moderate Pakistan’s behavior on terrorism and should give up its double-sided policy on terrorism. The article in Global Times says that India cannot rise by containing China, but its reverse is equally true that China too cannot rise by containing India. Success of any containment strategy in age of globalization is difficult and it is time that India and China cooperate in true strategic realm as well.

Endnotes

[1] News Analysis: Strategic consideration behind frequent Modi-Obama meetings, available at http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2016-06/08/c_135422676.htm

[2] India’s vision cannot be realized by containing China, available at http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/987514.shtml

[3] English translation of the article available at http://niasindiainchina.in/2016-06-07/seventh-modi-obama-meeting-how-to-refresh-india-america-relations/

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