China will not sit quietly if India boosts military ties with Vietnam to counter Beijing, a Chinese newspaper warned on Wednesday.
An op-ed in Global Times also told New Delhi not to “stir up troubles” in Southeast Asia. “If the Indian government genuinely treats its enhancement of military relations with Vietnam as a strategic arrangement or even revenge against Beijing, it will only create disturbances in the region and China will hardly sit with its arms crossed,” said the daily which is said to represent the views of the Chinese leadership.
According to reports, India is in talks with Vietnam to sell indigenous surface-to-air missile system. “This was supposed to be a normal arms sale, yet was portrayed by the Indian media as a response ‘to counter the Chinese threat.’” the daily said.
It said it was natural for New Delhi to deepen its ties with Hanoi, which is a pillar of India’s Act East Policy. It, however, cautioned that “such ties should be built for the sake of peace and stability in the region, rather than stirring up troubles or anxiety for others.
“However, when India and Vietnam are in talks about possible sales, New Delhi seems to keep taking a sneak peak at Beijing, as if the deal is stealthily aimed at China.” During an official visit to Hanoi in September 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced $500 million defence credit line to Vietnam, which is dubbed as “principal protagonist,” in the South China Sea claimed by Beijing.
It said Indian experts and media describing Vietnam as China’s backyard reflected “India’s outdated diplomatic mindset”. The article said “due to geopolitical factors, some nations have been cosying up to India over the years, which to a large extent contributed to India’s fruitful development.
“New Delhi understands that the best strategy for itself is to continue its collaboration with all parties, instead of picking a side and turning hostile to one another. “Otherwise, it might not only turn others’ troubles to its own puzzles, but also suffer enormous losses of development opportunities.
“India has a dream to grow into a great power. But under today’s international circumstances, it will be extraordinarily hard to achieve the goal on its own. “What India needs is more pragmatic cooperation with other countries.”
The newspaper, run by the China’s Communist Party, hoped that India will join the Belt and Road project. “This will help promote the country’s infrastructure construction, improve connectivity within the region and may even turn into a push to solve the India-Pakistan contradictions.”
India has been non-committal to China’s ambitious project. New Delhi has opposed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through Pakistan-administered Kashmir claimed by India. “It is hoped that the hype in the Indian media does not represent the country’s government. There are divergences between Beijing and New Delhi, yet there are more common interests that await the two to explore.”