Even as China hardens its stance over Indian oil exploration bids in Vietnamese waters in South China Sea, a latest India-US study has pitched for the US strongly supporting New Delhi's peaceful rise vis-a-vis Beijing.
"The US should persistently express its strong support for India's peaceful rise as a crucial component of Asian security and stability," said the Aspen Institute India and US Council on Foreign Relations joint study group report released simultaneously both in New Delhi and in Washington.
The 53-page report "The United States and Inida -- A Shared Strategic Future", released here by former Indian ambassador to US Naresh Chandra, also said India should continue to welcome the US presence in the Asia-Pacific as an indispensable contribution to Asia's stability, peace and security.
Asked if that meant an India-US joint effort at countering China, Chandra said that will be counter-productive and pointed out that the report called for both the nations enlisting China's cooperation on matters of global and regional concern, by emphasising their constructive, stabilising and amicable purposes.
"We made it very clear that it doesn't make sense also. You can't contain a growing power on a continuous basis. It is an exercise in futility. If the Chinese people are growing economically and militarily, we cannot concentrate forces and cannot stand in the frontier and say, don't grow or we won't allow you to grow. That will be counter-productive," he said at the release event in New Delhi.
He said the report had, in fact, gone even further. "We should go and talk to the Chinese to get maximum out of the growing power of both India and China...how to mutually reinforce each other's beneficial outcomes out of this growth, keeping the border issue and other irritants on one side, not overlooking them and parallelly doing both things at the same time," he said.
The report, however, noted that since 2007, China's actions, particularly that of its military, had been worrisome to both the US and India and listed the anti-satellite tests of 2007, incursions near Bhutan-India-China tri-border later that year, preventing Asian Development Bank loan for development project in Arunachal Pradesh in 2009, and its funding and involvement in dual-use projects in India's neighbourhood, as some actions that were inimical to regional interests.
"What we have said is there are concerns, it would be unwise to ignore those concerns. We have to attend to them. We have to take steps to ensure the rise of Chinese power is consistent with the requirement of stability and development of the whole region of Asia. It is in that sense and we have to do it."
"At the same time, even with Chinese, as we have dealt with the Americans, we have to get the best out of their power through our bilateral relationship. We should not give the impression that there is a group of countries trying to stop their growth in any way," Chandra said.
The report also called for US-India sharing of their assessments on China, apart from India expanding its diplomatic and military relations with Indian Ocean littoral and East Asian nations, with active US support.
"The US and China have a good relationship. When they talk of G2, they are not talking of India and the US, they are talking of China and the US, and their financial inter-dependence," said C Raja Mohan of Centre for Policy Research, who was part of the study group.
"I don't think America is waiting to take India to a containment party or Indians want to join a containment party. It is about that China has risen to world power, India is rising... and how do we work together to stabilise this part of the world," he added.