Washington: The competitive nature of India-China relationship is being exploited by some regional countries to get favourable aid packages to support their own development, a top Pentagon official has said.
Admiral Harry Harris, nominee for the US-Pacific Command, said the current India-China relationship is complicated by a deficit in trust.
"Some regional states seek to exploit the competitive Sino-Indian relationship, seeking favourable aid packages from New Delhi and Beijing to enable their own development," Harris told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing yesterday.
He, however, did not name any country.
"The current relationship between the region's two fastest growing powers, India and China, is complicated by a trust deficit stemming from China's longstanding relationship with Pakistan, India's defeat in the 1962 Sino-Indian war, and increasing competition for resources," he said.
Harris said the ongoing border dispute, trade imbalances and competition for influence across South and Southeast Asia "complicate efforts to reduce the mistrust, and ultimately complicate the security and stability of the region."
He, however, said New Delhi and Beijing do find common ground and cooperate in international forums such as BRICS, the G20, and in Climate Change Conferences to ensure their continued domestic development and economic growth.
According to Harris, China's rapid rise and the relative lack of transparency surrounding its intentions are increasingly a source of instability in the region.
"Tensions between China and its neighbours in the East and South China Seas have increased, spurring regional actors to modernise their forces," he said.
Harris said security concerns regarding Chinese military intentions have contributed to a greater focus on regional forums such as ASEAN.
"Such security concerns have also led to stronger and more welcoming relations between Asia-Pacific countries and the US as a security partner of choice," he said.
Harris believed the US should continue to monitor developments in China's military concepts and capabilities while encouraging Beijing to be more transparent about its military and security affairs.
"The US's response to China's military modernisation should be flexible and supported by the continued transformation of our force posture in the region, the maintenance of our global presence and access, the modernisation of our own capabilities in areas such as countering anti-access and area denial, and the strengthening of our alliances and partnerships," he said.