India’s vision cannot be realized by containing China

By Liu Zhun Source:Global Times Published: 2016-6-8 1:03:13

Four visits to the US and seven meetings with President Barack Obama in two years - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, since he took office in 2014, has ramped up the India-US relationship to an unprecedented level. How the two countries will engage with each other has raised heated discussions.

Modi's short visit to the US features a busy schedule. New Delhi hopes there will be breakthroughs in many aspects, especially business and trade, security cooperation and nuclear issues.

The transformation of the geopolitical landscape is the major driver drawing the US and India much closer. Washington's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific makes the US realize India's strategic significance, economic potential and ideological commonality. India hopes that by consolidating its relationship with the US, it could gain leverage in development and forge an international status that is worthy of its potential.

Modi has riveted his interactions with the US on this simple outlook: to make India a veritable powerhouse. He was eager to boost a broader and better economic relationship with the US. He urged the signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement, a landmark deal promoting logistics and defense cooperation with the US and he also expects an endorsement from the US to help India become a member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the last step to solidify India's status as a nuclear powerhouse.

As for Washington, it is always hoping that India could serve as its right hand to counterbalance China's rise. But so far, Washington's calculations do not work well. Turning down Washington's invitation to join a patrol in the South China Sea, New Delhi has no intention to cast away its founding principles: independence and non-alignment. In the process of fulfilling its ambition to be a major power, India has always employed independent and pragmatic approaches. A balance between other major powers will be its primary and optimal choice.

Besides, although boasting a Western-style democracy, India's culture and society differs from the West. The Indians know they cannot copy the West exactly, so they will try to find out what is best for them, including foreign relations.

Picking one side or camp against the other is not the way India will rise. New Delhi is looking into a multi-faceted diplomacy. The well-performing Indian economy will give incentives to the country to be more confident with multilateralism and to seek balanced international relations.

Although rivaling China in many aspects, India knows its great vision cannot be realized by bashing or containing China. Instead, they should expand cooperation, explore the potentials and build mutual trust for their own good. China is more of a help than a competitor for India. This will eventually constitute India's fundamental understanding of China.

Posted in: Observer

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