Independent policy in best interests of India
Published: Jan 29, 2018 10:48 PM

Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala chief minister and senior Politbureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), touched a nerve on Saturday when he praised China and criticized the Indian central government for taking a "pro-America," "anti-China" stance on foreign policy.

According to Indian media, speaking at a district committee meeting held by the CPI(M) in Kannun of Kerala, he lashed out at India for "deviating from its anti-imperialist policy of non-alignment" and becoming a "strategic ally of the US."

Earlier, CPI(M) leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan sparked uproar for remarking that India had become a member of a US-led four-nation axis attacking China from all sides. The BJP in Kerala demanded registration of a case against Kodiyeri Balakrishnan for his alleged "unpatriotic" statement.

Some Indians are increasingly anxious toward a rising China. As suspicions of China and anti-China sentiment spread within India's strategic circles, rational ideas that call for India to stick to its independent foreign policy, including maintaining smooth ties with Beijing, are labeled "pro-China" or "anti-India."

Proud of their national identity, Indians are reluctant to follow another power. India has long adhered to an independent foreign policy. Unfortunately, it is deviating from its diplomatic tradition and moving closer to countries like the US and Japan.

Western think tanks and media hype the strategic importance of India in counterbalancing China, leading some Indian strategists to falsely believe India can secure its interests by allying with the US. But India's best interests lie in adhering to its independent foreign policy.

For Indian leaders, their primary goal for a long time in the future will be to realize rapid economic development and improve people's living standards. India should objectively view China's economic achievements and learn a lesson from its northern neighbor. Instead of being, as Vijayan said, "supportive of the US interests" in dealing with China, strengthening cooperation with China is a wise choice. The two countries are important neighbors and big developing countries with great potential for cooperation.

To strengthen cooperation with China is not to stand against the US. From China's perspective, India doesn't need to take sides between China and the US. It holds an open and welcoming attitude toward normal cooperation between India and the US and other countries. It's expected India can continue to stick to the principle of non-alignment in developing foreign relations.

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