US treats India as pawn in its strategy: Chinese daily

Beijing: The US is only treating India as a pawn in its rebalancing strategy to the Asia-Pacific region, a Chinese daily said Tuesday.

The daily, Global Times, said that developing a good relationship with India will help Washington seek more support in international affairs and reduce the influence of emerging powers such as China in Asia.

The two countries are undoubtedly getting closer, but, it might be not as wonderful as it appears, because they both build their ties by taking advantage of each other, the Global Times said Tuesday in an op-ed page article “Pakistan, trade, emissions issues could frustrate closer Indian-US ties”.

The daily said the US has never treated India as an equal friend and the global strategic background at present is the reason it values India so much.

It said that cultivating India as a partner will enhance the US influence in international affairs as well as the global economy.

For example, the US has nearly been dragged into a new Cold War with Russia due to the Ukraine crisis, while competition between the US and an emerging China also seems to be escalating.

Thus, India represents a singularly positive opportunity for Washington’s “rebalancing” strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.

The daily said: “Developing a good relationship with India will help Washington seek more support in international affairs and reduce the influence of emerging powers such as China in Asia. In this regard, the US is only treating India as a pawn in its rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region.”

The article also said that India’s rapid economic growth could provide more robust commercial ties with the US, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new “Make in India” campaign brings Washington substantial investment opportunities.

For India, piggybacking on the closer relationship with the US will benefit the people’s livelihood through increasing economic cooperation and improving the country’s infrastructure, it said.

The US could also assist India to emerge as a major global power by backing India for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, the article added.

Furthermore, by fostering a revitalisation of the relations between the two democracies, India will gain diversified support in the fields of military and technology.

However, as a country that has long maintained non-alignment policy, India has no intention to shift its diplomatic strategy, not now and not in the future. Consequently, any cooperation could be treated as nothing but seeking mutual benefit, the daily said.

Therefore, despite the fact that both sides are sending positive signals and working hard to ensure Obama’s upcoming visit will be fruitful, it will prove hard for the US and India to become new best friends through a single visit. Several challenges are still confronting the two nations, the article said.

It also noted that Washington has a significantly different agenda to work out with India on climate change. The US is trying to reach a global agreement on binding emissions targets in which developing countries would abide by specific requirements on emissions.

India, however, finds itself a “victim” of the effects of climate change that are caused largely by Western nations’ industrialisation long ago.

While the US is focused on extorting concessions from the developing countries over this issue, India has almost no choice but to boost its growth by using cheaper energy, given the size of its population and the current situation of development, the article said.

More critically, the development of US-Pakistan relations has cast a shadow on India-US ties. India and Pakistan have fought several wars and relations remain contentious.

Even though the India-US bond has grown stronger, the US will never stop considering Pakistan as its ally in the war on terror. So, it won’t be a surprise if India responds negatively when the US keeps sending military aid to Pakistan.

The US and India hold more divergence on issues such as global trade talks and the establishment of a new global economic order.

All these are reasons to be skeptical of Indian-US ties, not because their achievements and advances are insignificant, but because their relationship has no foundational moorings. So, these potential problems will be likely to frustrate relations periodically, the daily said.

Obama will be warmly welcomed during his visit, New Delhi and Washington will grow closer, the two countries will strengthen their strategic partnership, but no breakthroughs will occur if all those challenges remain, the article added.