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'Delhi unlikely to emerge a key US security ally'

A lack of strategic vision for military alignment with the US is set to ensure that India does not become a significant counterweight in the region, says a former Chinese diplomat.

world Updated: Feb 26, 2013 17:34 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

A lack of strategic vision in the military alignment between India and the US is likely to ensure that New Delhi fails to emerge as Washington’s key security ally in the Indo-Pacific region, a former Chinese diplomat to India has said.

Mao Siwei, who served as the consul general of China in Kolkata in the late 2000s, said the US does play a very important role in Sino-India ties. But quoting a report, Mao indicated that strategic military ties between the US and India failed to evolve as expected after the two countries signed the civil nuclear deal.

According to a “report of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, US-India Military Engagement, authored by an insider at the US Department of Defense, the current situation of the US-India military relations is far from what the US side expects. The report said the US and India lacked a clearly defined strategic vision to focus their military engagement,” Mao said at a recent conference co-sponsored by the Hebei-based Charhar Institute, Beijing Foreign Studies University and the Johns Hopkins University.

He said the civil nuclear deal between the two countries was initiated, according to many, so that India could act as a "strategic counterweight to China”.

But the situation didn’t evolve as planned. “Last year, an important, semi-governmental report, Nonalignment 2.0, was published in India, holding that India and the US may be better served by being friends rather than allies,” Mao said; his opinion was published in the state-run Global Times newspaper on Tuesday.

The report said the US and India lacked a “clearly defined strategic vision to focus their military engagement”.

“The concerns of the Indian side about jeopardising strategic autonomy, along with personnel and budgetary limitations, have led to a further stymieing of deeper military contact,” Mao said.

As a result, he said India was not likely to emerge as a key provider of security within the Indo-Pacific region any time in the near to mid-term future.

“The Indian government has stated more than once in their communication with China that India will not participate in any attempt to contain China. The reasons for this strategic decision are not difficult to understand,” Mao said.