The US and India will tide over the row over the ill-treatment of an Indian diplomat, but the relationship between the two countries will face more challenges in the future, especially if BJP’s Narendra Modi comes to power in 2014, the Chinese state media said on Thursday.
The US has declined to issue a visa to Gujarat chief minister Modi because of his alleged involvement in the communal riots of 2002, the state-run Global Times said, adding it could become a real problem if he becomes the Prime Minister.
China has not officially commented on the controversy, but its state-controlled media has been keenly following the diplomatic row between New Delhi and Washington over the arrest of New York deputy consul general Devyani Khobragade.
All major Chinese and English media outlets have carried the story prominently. Last week, a widely circulated Chinese newspaper splashed the photo of security barricades being removed from near the US embassy in New Delhi.
A row between the oldest and largest democracies in the world is worth following for Beijing as it accuses Washington of trying to use New Delhi to counter its rise in the region and beyond.
Liu Zongyi from the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, a top think-tank in China, said though US-India relations have warmed in recent years, there are serious contradictions in the ties.
“There are already risks that may explode at any moment in the US-Indian relations. The two have different expectations of bilateral ties: India hopes to rely on the US to improve international position, strengthen strategic advantage and boost economy; but it is unwilling to be a tool of the US in containing China, while the US aims at making use of India to balance China and wants a more open Indian market. These mismatching goals offer the potential of conflict,” Liu wrote in his analysis.
He added that in recent years, India and the US have had frequent frictions over visa issues, currency issues and the US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“Accumulated conflicts have broken out in the Khobragade case,” Liu wrote.
But this could just be the beginning, he said. “If the BJP candidate Narendra Modi is elected as Indian prime minister in the 2014 elections, the US-Indian relations will have to confront real challenges then, especially since the US still refuses to issue Modi a visa due to his involvement in the 2002 Gujarat anti-Muslim riots.”