China sneers at Obama visit, calls India-US ties superficial

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 26, 2015 16:04 IST

China on Sunday said President Barack Obama’s visit to New Delhi would remain a symbolic exercise because of the superficial nature of US-India relations.

The official news agency, Xinhua, said in a commentary there are longstanding differences between the two countries on issues such as climate change and agriculture.

The commentary recalled that just a year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was persona non grata in Washington and denied a visa to the US.

“After all, only one year ago, US diplomats were expelled from New Delhi amid widespread public outrage over the treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York and Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister and then chief minister of Gujarat, was still banned from entering the United States,” says the report under the headline, “US, India unlikely on same page”.

India-based Chinese media is following Obama’s visit closely, frequently updating reports about developments in New Delhi.

Beijing often accuses the US of trying to use India as a counterweight to China in Asia.

The Xinhua commentary said Obama was attempting to bolster his image in Washington through this trip. “He (Obama) needs this trip to tell Capitol Hill and his supporters that his administration can make progress on important relations. More frankly, he needs India to side with him.”

But then, it goes on to add that “…three days are surely not enough for Obama and Modi to become true friends, given their hard differences on issues like climate change, agricultural disputes and nuclear energy cooperation”.

It said climate change is a major point of difference between the US and India with Obama making it a priority policy. “However, being the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, India is heavily dependent on coal-fueled plants. As a matter of fact, economic growth and eradication of poverty is more urgent for Indian officials than cutting carbon emissions.”

“As for agricultural disputes, India has long taken a tough stance on the issue of foodgrain and its differences with the United States in this regard had stalled for months the implementation of the WTO’s trade facilitation agreement.”

But India does stand to gain from its relations with the US, it said. “For India, a closer relationship with the United States is compatible with its multi-faceted diplomacy and could be commercially beneficial.”

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