NATIONAL

We are aware of China’s maritime ambitions: India

V.K. Singh  

The Centre on Wednesday informed the Lok Sabha that it was aware of China’s ambition to emerge as a “maritime power”, and indicated that India maintained a “close watch” on all developments that threatened its security.

“India and China have, on several occasions, reiterated that, as large neighbours following independent foreign policies, the relationships pursued by India and China with other countries must not become a source of concern for each other. Both countries have agreed to display mutual respect and sensitivity to each other’s concerns and aspirations,” said Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Ret.) V.K. Singh, in response to a question. The statement is significant in view of China’s recently concluded Free Trade Agreement with the Maldives which has drawn India’s attention.

“The government is aware of China’s stated objective of becoming a ‘maritime power’. As part of this strategy, China is developing ports and other infrastructure facilities in the littoral countries in the Indian Ocean region, including in the vicinity of India’s maritime boundary.”

Commenting on ties with Pakistan, he said, the “onus” of starting the Comprehensive Dialogue Process launched during the 2015 visit to Islamabad by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, lies on Pakistan.