As the US reiterated that it wanted India to have friendly relations with China, the US media suggested that there was much at stake in Chinese President Xi Jinping’s ongoing visit to India.
Meeting in the new Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat, “the leaders of Asia’s two giants laid the foundation for a long-term relationship that carries huge stakes for both”, wrote the New York Times in a report from New Delhi.
“The reasons for mutual good will are compelling,” it said noting “China has the ability to channel billions of dollars into Indian infrastructure and manufacturing projects”.
Beijing also “needs calm on its southwestern border to offset tense relationships with Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and the United States.”
Noting that Modi’s “diplomatic blitz” will culminate with a visit to the US at the end of the month, the Times said Washington “has had little opportunity to build a relationship with Mr. Modi, largely because it imposed a punitive visa ban” over his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
“The United States also lacks the economic leverage of China and Japan, which can offer major investment in Indian packages,” it said.
“The United States can, however, throw its support behind some projects that matter to Mr. Modi, like the development of smart cities and the manufacture of American-designed weapons in India.
“And whether or not it is openly discussed, the United States is closely allied with Japan and can play a balancing role in maritime security disputes with China, a subject that is clearly on Mr. Modi’s mind,” Times said.
The Time magazine said the first visit by a Chinese head of state in eight years underscored “the increasingly important economic and strategic partnership between the world’s two most populous nations”.
“China is India’s largest trading partner and trade and investment will undoubtedly be foremost on both leaders’ minds,” it said.
“Geo-strategic cooperation between the two countries is slightly trickier, and has been marked by contentious border disputes and maritime disagreements,” Time noted.
“However, it increasingly seems that the border disputes will not occupy much of the conversation between Xi and Modi, at least not publicly,” the newsmagazine suggested.
Meawhile, previewing Modi’s upcoming visit to the US, Nisha Desai Biswal, assistant secretary for South and Central Asian affairs, Wednesday reiterated that the US has a broad relationship with India and wanted New Delhi to have good relationships with all its friends in the region, including China.