China has offered to lift its strategic partnership with India to a “higher level,” and prompted New Delhi to avoid a “zero-sum trap” that was being set up by Washington and its allies.
In a message, on the occasion of 66th Republic Day, to President Pranab Mukherjee, his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping expressed China’s willingness “to make concerted efforts with India to lift their strategic cooperative partnership oriented to peace and prosperity to a higher level”. The felicitations coincided with the New Delhi visit of U.S. President Barack Obama.
An article on Monday that appeared in the Global Times and People’s Daily , cautioned India, not to fall into the “trap” that was being laid, to pit New Delhi against Beijing, by Washington, as part of its “pivot to Asia” doctrine.
The commentary noted that "the second visit by a sitting U.S. President to India, the first time on record, has undoubtedly drawn wide attention from the international community”.
It added that many Western media reports “have pointed out that the U.S., regardless of historical complications, is putting more efforts into soliciting India to act as a partner, even an ally, to support Washington's "pivot to Asia" strategy, which is mainly devised to counter China's rise.
In a further elaboration, the daily pointed to the West’s “ulterior motives’’ to frame the "Chinese dragon" and the "Indian elephant" as natural rivals. “The West is egging India on to be fully prepared for "threats" posed by its large neighbour.
Considering the fact that both sides still have territorial disputes and will probably have wider engagement at many levels, this so-called rivalry between India and China will not stop making headlines in Western media.”
However, it cautioned India that it was facing a carefully positioned “trap”. “Although craftily set, it will be revealed eventually.”
The daily advised both countries to put aside their “debates over specific issues,” and ensure that “their relations cannot take a life-or-death struggle as a foothold.”
“The common interests they share are way larger than any differences. As both are emerging powers, which have the huge potential of being important forces in the international community, China and India should see more space for cooperation instead of contention. This agreement is fundamental to bilateral relations.
The article counselled Beijing and New Delhi to “come to terms with a bottom line of interactions, making sure the big picture remains intact, although both sides still have disagreements on some specific matters,” and steer clear of a zero-sum game, that India, under Western influence was “sliding into”.
Diplomatic sources told The Hindu that India’s diplomacy is pursuing a “multi-vectored approach” that is geared to promote New Delhi’s core interests, through simultaneous engagement, in carefully defined areas, with several countries, which may have problems with each other.