Is China a 'chameleon' in Asia theatre?

Itanagar, June 15 (ANI): Given the fast changing geo-political scenario in South and South East Asia, believing that China is looking to cement its ties with India further in a positive manner would amount to landing in quick sand, an editorial in an Arunachal Pradesh daily has opined.

According to the editorial in the Arunachal Front newspaper, mandarins of the Indian External Affairs Ministry will have to continue maintaining an "eagle's eye" on developments taking place in Beijing, despite the recent "positive" visit of Chinese Premier Li Kequing.

Specifically referring to China's "Blue Book", which details that country's Indian Ocean strategy and interests, which was released on May 10 this year, and about 11 days before Premier Keqiang's visit to India, the editorial says the book makes a case for Beijing to deepen its economic engagements with the Indian Ocean Region's (IOR) littoral states.

Involved parties, the book says should be aware and pre-warned that China's interests will be driven by commercial rather than military objectives.

The book also warns that the Indian Ocean could end up "as an ocean of conflict and trouble" if countries like India, the U.S. and China fail to engage with each other more constructively as their interests begin to overlap.

Frankly assessing China's role in the IOR, the book laments that Beijing has trailed behind New Delhi and Washington in securing its interests.

The 350-page book's introduction says candidly that China "has no Indian Ocean strategy," while India has put forward its own "Look East" policy and the U.S. has put in place its "pivot" or "rebalancing" in Asia.

The book includes chapters on India's "Look East" policy, the expansion of India's interest eastward in an interlinked "Indo-Pacific." and lessons for China on "the decline of U.S. and U.K. hegemony" in the region.

It predicts that "no single regional power or world power, including the U.S., Russia, China, Australia, India, can control the Indian Ocean by itself in the future world," leaving "a fragile balance of power" that will be reached after jostling among "big powers."

The book stresses that "the rise of China is not a threat" to the region, though it acknowledges that "Indian Ocean countries, including India, are worried about the rise of China."

The "Blue Book" fails to mention anything about China's alleged "Look West" policy, intriguingly suggesting that China can change its colours like a chameleon.

The Arunachal Front editorial feels that former diplomat and ambassador Rajiv Bhatia is correct that New Delhi neither wants a new Cold War, nor a domination of the region by a single country.

South Block, according to the editorial's assessment of Bhatia's views, envisages a region where stability and cooperation prevail, marked by maritime security for all and a collective ability to deal with sources of non-traditional security threats.

India, in the meanwhile, is set to enhance its hard power and also deploy its soft power assets to deepen its links with littoral states.

In this context, the points to note are:

(1) In the Indian Ocean's western region, India's effort has been to strengthen defence cooperation with island states - Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles, besides Maldives. This exercise, still in an early phase, could do with acceleration.

2)Under the overall umbrella of the IBSA Dialogue Forum, cooperation among the navies of the three member-states - India, Brazil and South Africa - through joint exercises, training and strategizing has been gaining momentum. The two previous trilateral exercises took place in Cape Town and Durban. The resultant synergy should guide these countries to engage other interested parties by holding more exercises on the eastern seaboard of Africa.

(3) Since the western segment of the Indian Ocean has limited institutional arrangements for dialogue and cooperation compared to the eastern theatre, many believe it is time to reinvigorate the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), and

(4) India's bilateral cooperation on strategic issues needs to be strengthened with seven countries in the eastern theatre - Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Australia. Some may term them a 'potential necklace of diamonds.'

However, the proposed cooperation among "maritime democracies" will merit consideration only if it is not a proxy for an anti-China alliance.

For cementing collective endeavours to make the Indian Ocean and its periphery safe, India's preference should be to utilize the existing institutions, especially the East Asia Summit.

The editorialised views expressed in the above article are that of the Arunachal Front(ANI)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

...if they are to return to winning ways

...if they are to return to winning ways

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of the Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusia… More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »

Stressed Trott stands down again

Stressed Trott stands down again

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday confirmed that batsman Jonathan Trott is to take another break from all cricket with immediate eff… More »

PCB starts another coach hunt

PCB starts another coach hunt

The PCB has decided to not extend the contracts of head coach Moin Khan, fielding coach Shoaib Mohammad and batting consultant Zaheer Abbas, and has invited… More »

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

Fiery star Stokes bids to curb his temper

England all-rounder Ben Stokes admits he must keep his anger under control if he is to end his international exile. More »