Containing China is a strategic trap to India

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/12 21:18:39

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

The Asia-Pacific security pattern is witnessing drastic changes, with all forces being regrouped and readjusted. Indian and American scholars have said that cooperation among India, the US and Japan "will determine the parameters of security" in the Indian Ocean and Pacific regions in the face of an "assertive" China, India's Zee News reported.

The US, India and Japan have different strategic goals, but some Indians hold similar stance with Washington and Tokyo on countering China's rise. Cooperation among the three countries is necessary to face "the Chinese assertiveness" in the Indian and Pacific region, according to the Hindu. Last month, India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed in their first phone conversation to intensify defense and security cooperation, which has been emphasized by some Indians.

Some Indians' attempts to draw support from the US and Japan in security and defense are driven by their lack of confidence about India's status as a major power. India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru once said foreign policy is the outcome of economic policy. For India, its strategic and diplomatic confidence hinges on its economic openness and prowess.

In addition, with the enlarging gap in its competition with China, New Delhi seems to be increasingly wary of Beijing's development. With Chinese railways, ports and hydroelectric projects extending to India's periphery, the country is haunted by its self-surmised "China's besiegement." Some Indians are happy to talk about "China containment" because of their lack of confidence.

Mutual trust between China and India is not only about how they perceive each other, but more about how they view themselves. Only when a country becomes more confident in its development and strength, and more active in providing the periphery with more opportunities, would it have broader strategic horizons.

Quite a few projects that China is involved in right now, including a number of initiatives in the Indian Ocean, are what a major power is obliged to do in order to integrate into economic globalization. Beijing has been abiding by the principle of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation while developing its economic and trade ties with India's neighboring countries. Beijing has, thus, formed a pattern of reciprocity and mutual benefit. If India changes its perspective, it will discover more opportunities rather than threats.

Washington hopes to use New Delhi to contain China in the Indian Ocean. Tokyo wishes to counterbalance China in the Pacific Ocean with the help of New Delhi. All these seem to be strategic opportunities for India, but they are actually nothing more than traps. Once India falls into them, the country will become a pawn for the US and Japan and will lose numerous opportunities while facing more risks.

 As a nation which sees itself as a major power, if India relies on external forces for its security, it will become more self-abased. The best path for India's development is to be more open to its neighbors and join regional development programs such as the Belt and Road initiative. -- The Asia-Pacific security pattern seems to have entered a phase of uncertainty. Trump's future strategy in this area is not yet clear, but the US seems to be increasing its military presence in the region.

Nevertheless, it won't stop China's rise. Both China and India have the potential to play bigger roles in Asia-Pacific security.

The article is an editorial of the Chinese edition of the Global Times on Saturday. Follow us on Twitter @GTopinion


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