Countering China together with the US not in India’s interest: analyst

By Lu Wenao Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/8 20:38:40

Countering China together with the US is not in India's interests, a Chinese analyst said Tuesday, as the US tries to soothe India after President Donald Trump mocked India's role in Afghanistan.

Trump talked to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a telephone call on Monday, the White House said, a week after Trump mocked Modi for funding a library in the war-torn country, suggesting it is of no use.

"The US wants to woo India to its Indo-Pacific strategy as it tries to contain China," said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies. "But countering China does not fit India's interests."

In rejecting Trump's comment, New Delhi says it has provided $3 billion in development assistance to Afghanistan.

Trump plans to withdraw about half of the 14,000 US troops in Afghanistan, calling for less spending overseas. But the move has raised some eyebrows as it might lead to a rise in Taliban insurgents who are destabilizing the region.

"India has its own strategy in Afghanistan," Zhao said. "They can do it on their own instead of consulting the US."

Reducing the US trade deficit with India is among the topics Trump and Modi talked about, the White House statement said. The US trade deficit with India was $22.9 billion in 2017, according to the US Trade Representative website.

Washington has slapped tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum from India, Reuters reported. But both of the materials are not the top of US imports from India, Zhao noted.

India has threatened to retaliate, but said it would not take action until the end of this month. Modi said at an annual security conference in Singapore in June last year that countries in the Indo-Pacific region should unite against protectionism, which the Trump administration is executing.

"Trump wants to reduce the US trade deficit to boost domestic manufacturing jobs," Zhao said, before adding that India is not among the largest suppliers of goods to the US.

Leading services imports from India to the US were in the telecommunications, computer and information services, research and development, and travel, the USTR said.



 



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