Monday, November 23, 2009

US, China to Manage India-Pakistan Issues

Dealing with a rising China will be a test case of Indo-US ties and the US-Japan security alliance. While the region may have, by and large, adopted a ‘wait and watch’ approach towards the rising power, there appears to be an increasing perception of a period of Chinese dominance. The Obama Administration’s approach to China to date is a cause for worry to India. The administration’s policy is not reassuring to either India or even Japan. Whatever be the reasoning, a close Sino-US partnership is going to be irksome to India just as Beijing watched with concern a closer partnership between India and the US. While it is not a zero sum game, improvement in one set of bilateral relationship does impact the other negatively.

The recent US-China Joint Statement (November 17, 2009) is a quick reminder of the June 1998 US-China Joint Statement on South Asia, which created major uproar in India.

Such statements make it evident that US does not recognize India as a major Asian power and this will create tensions not only in bilateral ties with the US but also China. The long term prospects of peace and friendship will also be affected.

Obama’s over emphasis on China may not be in the interests of India or the US; however, the US does not yet appear to be seeing it that way. With global meltdown having hit the US thoroughly, Obama’s economic concerns about China have been overshadowed by the American view that the US needs Chinese help in getting out of the economic mess. This was quite evident from Hillary Clinton’s statements during her visit to Beijing in February 2009, when she in a sense appealed to the Chinese government to continue buying US treasury bonds or be prepared for the fall of both economies.

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