Concurrent India drills spark unnecessary speculation

By Yu Jincui Source:Global Times Published: 2015-10-14 0:38:02

Two exercises involving the Indian military are running concurrently - one in China and the other off the Indian east coast.

On Sunday, the 10-day India-China anti-terrorism joint military drill, code-named Hand-in-Hand 2015, commenced in the Chinese city of Kunming, Yunnan Province. The next day, a trilateral drill by India, the US and Japan was launched in the Bay of Bengal.

Malabar, a bilateral navy exercise involving the US and India, includes Japan this year. Speculation has therefore mounted that Washington and New Delhi are considering turning Japan into a permanent partner. Malabar reportedly includes a "submarine hunt" this time.

Rabble-rousers say that India is eyeing China by including Japan in the Malabar exercise and the trilateral drill is targeted at China.

Indian officials stressed that New Delhi has been pursuing a "multi-vectored diplomacy." India's policies and strategies are based on its national interests. It has been proved that over the past decades, India has stuck to independent foreign policies and never wants to be part of any coalition to contain China.  

The efforts of China and India moving closer have been snubbed by the West, which tries to hype the contention of the two sides.

Given the border disputes between China and India, and geopolitical rivalry as well, mutual distrust is slow to dissolve, and India is vigilant against China's rise. This creates opportunities for other countries to drive a wedge between Beijing and New Delhi.

But China and India have reached a solid consensus that continued growth in bilateral relations should not be thwarted by divergences.

During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to China in May, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the two countries "have enough political wisdom to manage and control divergences," a sentiment echoed by Modi.

Both China and India are emerging countries and share more common interests than disagreements. Since both face an arduous task of development, neither side will prioritize geopolitical competition. The purpose of the Hand-in-Hand exercise is to "develop joint operating capability, share useful experience in counter-terrorism operations and to promote friendly exchanges between the armies of India and China." It's a joint endeavor of working on common interests and enhancing mutual understanding, while the Malabar drill displays India's multi-vectored diplomacy.

The China-India relationship is on a sound track, and healthy ties are beneficial to both countries. India should be vigilant to any intentions of roping it into an anti-China camp. 

Posted in: Observer

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