Playing down India’s decision to sign a logistic agreement with the US, China’s state media on Monday said the proposed deal is “stalled” because of distrust between the two as India wants to be the “most beautiful woman” wooed by all, especially Washington and Beijing.
“Besides their traditional distrust, the speculation heralding a US-India alliance is also an obvious underestimation of India’s ambition for a role of swing-state between superpowers,” an article in the state-run Global Times said as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar started his first visit to Beijing on Monday for talks with Chinese officials.
“The basic idea is that India would like to continue to be the most beautiful woman wooed by all men, notably the two strongest in the house, US and China,” the article titled ‘Indo-US strategic distrust stalls LSA signing’.
“This is not an unfamiliar role to India. We can still recall how its diplomatic manoeuvring had earned itself a special role between the two competing blocs during the Cold War,” it said.
“Evidently enough, it needs to feel its way forward and try not to agitate China by crossing the bottom line and consequently it declines to discuss the prospect of joint patrols in the South China Sea, despite the obvious interest and much enthusiasm from its American counterpart,” it said.
Last week, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter concluded his three-day visit to India and announced he and his Indian counterpart have agreed in-principle that all the issues regarding a Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) are resolved and both sides would finalise the text in the coming weeks.
Highlighting India’s decision to sign the LSA, the report said: “Despite a whole range of strategic issues being covered in the visit, the topic of the logistics agreement itself has triggered speculation among international media that both sides are boarding the same boat to contain China.”
In essence, the LSA’s purpose is to share military bases for logistical purposes, including refuelling and repair.
“Therefore it is very much similar to the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA), a traditional agreement the US has with many of its NATO allies,” the article said.
“That’s why it has triggered speculation that both sides are moving toward a military alliance arrangement”, it said.
In 2007, the US and Sri Lanka signed an ACSA to allow exchange of logistics supplies during peacekeeping missions, humanitarian operations, and joint exercises.