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Declining Sino-Indian ties depict failed Delhi foreign policy

Declining Sino-Indian ties depict failed Delhi foreign policy

New Delhi, Sep 9: Analysts say the relationship between India and China has always been a rocky one with little hope of any quick-fix solution to their long simmering tensions, which have flared up, in the recent past with China’s support for India’s arch-enemy Pakistan.

Diplomatic ties between both nations have become increasingly fraught over an unsettled border, the disputed Kashmir region and the competing global aspirations of the world’s most populous nations.

In rare public criticism of his giant neighbour, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh said that China was seeking to expand its influence in South Asia at India’s expense.

Dr. Singh’s comments followed repeated diplomatic sparring between the two.

Asian powers in the last two years, reflecting growing friction over their disputed borders and roles as emerging global powers despite bilateral trade that has grown 30-fold since 2000.

China’s support for India’s arch-enemy Pakistan, which backs separatists in disputed Kashmir and also claims the region in full, has not helped to defuse tensions.

Professor Alka Acharya, a Sinologist, said China’s increased closeness with Pakistan in recent years has definitely irked India.

“The whole relationship seems to have gone in a limbo. The pace with which we were hoping for some developments in the border in terms of the negotiations leading to some kind of compromise and solution seems to have been stuck,” said Alka Acharya, Professor of Chinese studies in New Delhi.

“The general perception is that Chinese are now taking a harder position on certain issues on which they had not taken similar positions before. China’s relationship with Pakistan in particular is beginning to now affect Indian interests,” she added.

While trade has grown 30-fold since 2000, the tension highlights how economic ties alone may not be enough to resolve the two countries growing friction.

Distrust between the China and India economic powerhouses dates back to a 1962 border war.

China defeated India in the 1962 conflict, but they still spar over their disputed 3,500 km (2,170 mile) Himalayan border and the presence of exiled Tibetan separatist leader, the Dalai Lama, in India.

“We have had nearly five to seven years in which both the countries have actually explored greater understanding at the global level, at the regional level and you have a relationship which is increasing in intensity in level of exchanges. So I would say that it’s really the persistence of some old issues,” said Acharya.

Media reports say China has mounted tension between the two countries by installing missiles at its border with India and further denying visa to an Indian army top commander in restive Kashmir.

Experts say that China has also been trying to surround Indian Territory by establishing ‘string of pearls’, a euphemism for its base camps in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Indian Ocean.

“I think on the politico-strategic front there are serious difficulties. There are, there is significant suspicion and doubts about each other’s ambition, each other’s objectives, so I kind of fail to see a kind of a strategic dialogue that can take place between India and China,” said Rajeswari Rajagopalan, a senior fellow at the think-tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

“However what we need to do is, in order to avoid certain pitfalls on the border or on other places maybe tomorrow it can happen in Indian Ocean region it needn’t happen on the border but the two ships sailing in the Indian Ocean region they could conflict not on the border but in the Indian Ocean region given the kind of increasing activities by China in the region and they could be potential problems on the sea itself,” she added.

The strategy has also raised Indian fears of encirclement and the worry that Beijing wants to pin down India within South Asia, crushing its global aspirations. Some Indian officials, however, have said some of those fears of expanded Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean are overblown.

“A situation where we have good economic relationship, trade with China is continuously increasing day by day, year by year, but there is some problem like China’s closeness with Pakistan always affects. It’s always a big issue in India.

And may be with respect to Kashmir, their (China) support in the UN (United Nations) for Pakistan,” said Mitesh Saini, a student of business studies. (ANI)

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