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India will not become ‘pawn’ for Japan to contain China: Chinese state media

india Updated: Nov 12, 2016 13:37 IST
Sutirtho Patronobis
Sutirtho Patronobis
Hindustan Times

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe during his visit to Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) Hyogo Plant, in Kobe on Saturday.(PTI)

Japan will not succeed in making India a “pawn” in its anti-China diplomacy, Chinese state media has said, adding that New Delhi’s foreign policy is multi-pronged and wants to benefit from both sides.

“Lacking long-term strategies, Japan will head down another dead-end route,” the editorial said, describing Japan’s efforts to co-opt India.

The editorial said Japan will not be able to exploit the differences between India and China, as bilateral ties between the two countries are improving because of frequent high-level exchanges between New Delhi and Beijing.

The editorial was published in the nationalistic Global Times tabloid on Saturday during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing Japan visit.

Read | Modi bats for better ties with Japanese industries, rides bullet train with Abe

On Friday, India and Japan signed a civil nuclear-cooperation deal, the first that Tokyo has inked with a country that is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Chinese state media editorial said the nuclear deal was Japan’s ploy to convince India to “meddle” in the South China Sea (SCS) disputes.

“Japan wants to use the disputes between China and India to court India to help contain China. Japan seeks to urge India to meddle in the South China Sea issue, even at the cost of changing its long-held position of reducing nuclear usage to offer special benefits of civil nuclear cooperation to India,” it said.

“India is in need of acquiring nuclear and military technology from Japan and attracting more investment for its manufacturing industries and infrastructure, like high-speed railways.”

It laid out three reasons why Modi’s trip was being touted as “historical” by Chinese media.

“Modi’s trip has drawn attention for three reasons: Japan will officially roll out an Indian Ocean-Pacific strategy that it has planned for years; the two countries have signed a civilian nuclear agreement; and both sides have hinted they would include the South China Sea Arbitration in their joint statement.”

Read | India, Japan sign landmark civil nuclear deal

But Tokyo will not succeed in its efforts, it said.

“India will not become a pawn for Japan to contain China, as it wants to become a power on par with China and Japan and benefit from both sides. India will get closer to Japan but will not enter into a ‘brotherhood’ relationship.”

The editorial explained why.

“However, India is not likely to change its position according to the wishes of Japan. India takes a multilateral approach to diplomacy and pursues a status as a leading power. Japan’s plans are full of antagonism, which contradict India’s policies. Therefore India will practically assess specific cooperation with Japan case by case.”

Another reason being that Sino-India relations are on the mend, contended the editorial.

“China and India have many problems between them, however, Sino-Indian relations are improving. National leaders frequently meet and are securing the right direction in bilateral ties. Even if India signs the ‘Indian Ocean-Pacific Pact’ it won’t have as much strength to contain China as (Shinzo) Abe expects.”