BEIJING – The US-India “honeymoon” will not last long, said Chinese experts on Thursday, commenting on reports that the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said that the US will “dramatically deepen” cooperation with India, Global Times has reported.
The only reason Washington sees New Delhi as a key partner, for now, is because it is weaker than China and easy to manipulate, said, Chinese experts.
Tillerson made the remark on Wednesday that the US “will not shrink from China’s challenges to the rules-based order and where China subverts the sovereignty of neighboring countries and disadvantages the US and our friends,” at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a US think tank in Washington DC, a week prior to a scheduled visit to India, Reuters reported on Thursday.
“India and the US should be in the business of equipping other countries to defend their sovereignty, build greater connectivity, and have a louder voice in a regional architecture that promotes their interests and develops their economies,” Tillerson added.
Although the US State Department claims that the US-India relationship is in response to “negative Chinese influence in Asia,” Washington understands that this expression is more political rather than practical, said Hu Zhiyong, a fellow researcher at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of International Relations told Global Times on Thursday.
Hu added that “India’s lack of efficiency, its corruption problems, and undeveloped military will affect the extent to which the US and India cooperate.”
In a related note, at least half a million protesters brought Mumbai, India’s financial capital, to a standstill on August 9 as they pressed demands for reserved places in the government job quota and college placement amid a slumping rural economy, according to Reuters.
Zhang Jiadong, associate professor at Fudan University’s Center for American Studies, told the Global Times that India had suddenly become appealing to the US because it felt impossible to overlook the fact that China is getting stronger, so it is seeking an alliance with the relatively weaker India who also sees China as a strong competitor in the region.
“The US is surely aware of the fact that Sino-US relations outweigh US-India relations. Tillerson’s way of speaking was just to comfort India before Trump’s scheduled visit to China in November,” said Jiang Jingkui, director of Peking University’s South Asian Languages Department.
“US policymaking in South Asia is centered on Afghanistan, with the focus more on regional stability rather than simply containing China. For that reason, to effectively safeguard Afghan stability, the US still needs China’s assistance,” Hu noted.
“We are pleased to see the US and India or any other countries developing normal and friendly relations between each other, as long as the development is advantageous for regional peace and stability, and enhancing the mutual trust of one another,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing on Thursday.