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A wary eye on India-US ties

world Updated: Oct 22, 2010 00:56 IST
Reshma Patil

China’s wariness about the Obama administration’s relationship with India has gone up, going by the current buzz among Chinese strategists and foreign policy commentaries.

On Thursday, the view was reflected in two official newspapers. Writing in the Global Times, Qiu Hao from the National Defense University said that ‘India’s goals of becoming a global power cannot be realised by just following the US’. Qiu accused the US of building a ‘strategic fence’ with Japan and South Korea as the backbone and a shell of India, Vietnam and nations with territorial disputes with China. Earlier this year, a Chinese Air Force colonel wrote about a crescent-shaped ring encircling China from Japan to the South China Sea and India to Afghanistan.

“India’s politicians should be aware that as the two weaker sides of a triangular relationship, it is very important for India and China to maintain stability to prevent the US from profiting from their disputes,’’ Qiu said. “The US fence around China is weak but could become an iron wall if China makes strategic mistakes.”

Beijing’s belief that US ties with India are aimed at containing China is not new. Insiders say that Washington’s latest ‘interference’ in China’s territorial and maritime disputes in South Asia indicates that it’s ‘playing games’ with India as well. “If you look around Asia and what the US is doing, it is not surprising and difficult to understand America’s needs in South Asia,’’ Han Hua of the Peking University's School of International Studies, said.

Ahead of the visit by Politburo member Zhou Yongkang to New Delhi, Beijing is also deflecting the blame for recent bilateral tensions on unnamed ‘western elements’.

A Fudan University analyst wrote in Thursday’s China Daily that India-China are made for each other but must guard against western elements. “Some Indian media raised a hue and cry over so-called ‘border invasion’ by China last year and the recent suspension of bilateral military exchanges,’’ said the commentary. “Some Western countries and media are trying to use this to drive a wedge between the two neighbours.”