Better business ties between the two countries was the focus of Chinese President Hu Jintao'sfour-day visit to India. The leaders met under the shadow of the outrageous Chinese claim on Arunachal Pradesh. Hu did not make amends to his ambassador'sprovocative claim. The Chinese leader also refused to support Indian stand on access to civilian nuclear energy. India had been lobbying hard for China'ssupport in the Nuclear Suppliers? Group. But China'sposition remained unchanged that it will not allow any amendment to the NSG rules that will dilute the non-proliferation regime. Other than the US, India has found support in Russia, Britain and France for its rightful demand for nuclear co-operation.
China, like the US wants to get unhindered access to India'slucrative market, but clip our independent pursuit of nuclear power.
China is critical of Indo-US nuclear dialogue, but it has promised Pakistan to dramatically strengthen its nuclear capability with six reactors. Further it has signed up with Egypt to provide a credible nuclear programme. China is openly supportive of the Iranian and North Korean nuclear adventure. Under the Indo-US deal many unacceptable non-proliferation conditions are fettering our nuclear programme, even as China is free of any such restriction and is playing around with careful abandon. It has a double standard on the issue. It is supplying nuclear technology and fuel to its friends, which is critical to India'ssecurity concerns. China is spreading its wings across the world and it considers India a growing threat to its hegemonistic designs.
China wants India to open up more to that country. But it continues its support to Pakistan on Kashmir. If its diplomacy is geared to stop India at every international fora, it is uneasy about India'sstrategic ties with the US. Understandable. But it is not prepared to listen to Indian concerns on unnecessary boundary disputes it has created for India. China, as President Hu spoke at his Vigyan Bhavan address, is seeking India'ssupport for “a multipolar world and a more equitable and fairer political and economic order”. He said, “India and China face the same development opportunities in a world moving towards multipolarity and growing economic globalisation.” So far so good. But China is not even handed on its dealings with India vis-?-vis Pakistan. This is the crux of the problem.
China is trying to encircle India by increasing its presence in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. It wants the Indian comrades to work as its Gestapo to further its global agenda. ?Promote our interests wherever you are powerful,? Hu reportedly told Indian comrades.
Increasing bilateral trade between the two countries, and Chinese investments in India and vice versa, can improve people-to-people contacts, but strategic concerns will always remain an irritant.
China wants removal of all barriers in strengthening trade and investment. But India has its own worries. A no-holds-barred regime on Chinese imports will have devastating effect on the balance of trade, as China has the advantage of cheap, captive labour and a guided economic order of a political dictatorship. It has the potential to stifle India'sdomestic production. Indigenous manufacturers will seek a level playing field to protect their interests.
It is a good idea to improve bilateral ties between the two Asian tigers, but, it is difficult yet to say that the foundations are firmly laid for the onward march, in the wake of Hu'svisit that was high on rhetoric and low on substance.