Beijing: Playing down India's decision to sign a logistic agreement with the US, Chinese state media said on Sunday that the proposed deal is stalled because of distrust between the two as India wants to be the "most beautiful woman" wooed by all, especially Washington and Beijing.
"Besides their traditional distrust, the speculation heralding a US-India alliance is also an obvious underestimation of India's ambition for a role of swing-state between superpowers," an article in the state-run Global Times said even as Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar started his first visit to Beijing for talks with Chinese officials. Parrikar, on his part, kicked off his visit by holding talks with Chinese counterpart General Chang Wanquan stating that India attaches highest priority to its relationship with China and is committed to further develop the ties.
"India attaches highest priority to relations with China and committed to further developing friendly and cooperative relations with China," Parrikar told Chang in his opening remarks before the two delegations started the talks. Parrikar was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the headquarters of the Chinese military here by a contingent of PLA soldiers.
Welcoming Parrikar, Chang said, "Hope your visit improve strategic mutual trust between the two armed forces". After his meeting with Chang, Parrikar will hold talks with General Fan Changlong, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, (CMC). He is also due to call on Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and visit China's recently-integrated western command military headquarters in Chengdu which has jurisdiction over entire borders with India.
Creating some sort of friction ahead of India-China meetings is not new to the Chinese media, and the Global Times article contended that "The basic idea is that India would like to continue to be the most beautiful woman wooed by all men, notably the two strongest in the house, US and China. This is not an unfamiliar role to India. We can still recall how its diplomatic manoeuvring had earned itself a special role between the two competing blocs during the Cold War."
"Evidently enough, it needs to feel its way forward and try not to agitate China by crossing the bottom line and consequently it declines to discuss the prospect of joint patrols in the South China Sea, despite the obvious interest and much enthusiasm from its American counterpart," the article added.
Another article in the daily said that the India-US Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) "is drawing the US and India into an undeclared military alliance."
"India's diplomatic manoeuvring risks dampening cooperation among the China-Russia-India triangle and the Brics," it said but quickly added that "tensions between the US and China and Russia in terms of geopolitics have provided India with admirable strategic opportunities."
The article further claimed India's foreign policy has entered an era of non-alignment 3.0, featured by three characteristics: "India, instead of maintaining a neutral position, takes sides with countries like the US and Japan in islands and maritime disputes concerning Asia-Pacific security at the risk of escalating confrontation and conflicts in the region," it said. Second, India shirks its responsibilities and distances itself from China and Russia in dealing with some global problems such as the West Asian conflicts in order to avoid confrontations with the West, it alleged. "(And) finally, it takes advantage of geopolitical conflicts between the US, Japan and China, Russia to gain maximum interests for itself. We hope India won't go too far as a swing power," it said.
Last week, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter concluded his three-day visit to India and announced he and his Indian counterpart have agreed in-principle that all the issues regarding an LSA are resolved and both sides would finalise the text in the coming weeks.
With inputs from PTI