“New Delhi welcomes Beijing’s finance and the two sides have collaborated well in the BRICS Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the high-speed railway project between Delhi and Chennai,” The Global Times, known for its sharp views on India, said in an opinion piece headlined “India still nervous about China’s growing strength despite economic ties”.
“Nonetheless, the Modi administration takes a rather different attitude toward China in strategy and security-related affairs,” said the article, written by Liu Zongyi, a research fellow of Shanghai Institute for International Studies and a visiting fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China.
According to the article, the year 2014 “signified the opening of a new chapter of China-India relations” after the Bharatiya Janata Party under the leadership of Narendra Modi came to power in New Delhi and Chinese President Xi Jinping made a historic state visit to India
The Chinese president, during his visit in mid-September, “achieved a critical consensus with Modi on forging a closer development partnership by designing a development blueprint for the next five to 10 years”, the article stated.
“But the two sides still have differences in understanding what a ‘closer development partnership’ is and, therefore, should continue fostering strategic mutual trust,” it said.
“‘A closer partnership’ does not mean replacing the ‘strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity’ signed in a 2005 joint statement, but underlines that ‘development’ will be a significant way to achieve peace and prosperity.”
The article noted that China’s pledge to invest $20 billion in India in the next five years, establish Chinese industrial parks and participate in the South Asian nation’s infrastructure development marked a huge leap compared with the investment stock of $411 million during the past decade.
But it stated that instead of taking an explicit stance on Beijing’s initiatives such as the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, “New Delhi only expressed interest in studying the India-China-Bangladesh-Myanmar Economic Corridor”.
“However, it welcomes Washington’s Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor project in exchange of US and Japan’s support for its Mekong-Ganga Cooperation project,” the article stated.
Though a border standoff between the two countries broke just two days before President Xi’s visit to India, the two sides have often seen confrontations since then.
“Meanwhile, the Indian government has adopted the ‘Act East’ policy to replace the old ‘Look East’ strategy. It not only engages in more proactive military cooperation with the US, Japan and Vietnam but also interferes in the South China Sea dispute in a high-profile way,” it stated.
“In addition, New Delhi has also strengthened its relations with countries across South Asia and along the Indian Ocean. It has become more vigilant against China’s military actions in the Indian Ocean. New Delhi was perturbed over the docking of a Chinese submarine at Sri Lanka’s Colombo harbour in November.”
Stating that India’s different attitudes toward China in strategy and economy show its mentality over the bilateral relations, the author claimed: “It (India) views China as its competitor in Indo-Pacific geopolitics though it longs to take advantage of the Asian powerhouse to boost its economy.”
The article mentioned that 2015 marked the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-India diplomatic relations and the 60th anniversary of the convocation of the Bandung Conference.
“When China and India lack sufficient strategic mutual trust, forging a close personal relationship between top leaders will be conducive to the smooth development of the bilateral ties. Modi’s likely future China visit will help him in further understanding China. In this way, the two emerging countries will probably turn into real partners with each other,” it concluded.