‘China needs to be sensitive of India`s concerns’

Bhutan, India`s closest ally, is all set to establish diplomatic ties with China.

Beijing: As Bhutan, India`s closest ally, is all set to establish diplomatic ties with China, a Chinese strategic analyst said Beijing should be sensitive to New Delhi`s anxieties while improving its relations with South Asian states.

"With the increasing impact of China in South Asia, Bhutan has begun to enhance its ties with China, as the two countries agreed to establish diplomatic relations, stirring a new round of geopolitical concerns for India - the traditional power of the sub-continent," Chinese state-run Global Times said on Tuesday.

The understanding was reached between last week`s meeting between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and his Bhutanese counterpart Jigmi Y Thinley on the sidelines of UN Conference on Sustainable Development at Brazil.

Bhutan is the last of the South Asian states to open up to China, after Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, besides Pakistan which has developed "all weather relations" with Beijing decades ago.

Yang Xiaoping, an expert on Indian studies at the state run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said India`s concerns about growing influence of China in South Asia are understandable, but unnecessary.

"Historically, India has wielded a strong political influence unmatched by any other county in this region, so it is worried that China`s involvement will shake its status," she told Global Times.

China`s expansion is focused only on financial cooperation.

China loaned money for the construction of Sri Lanka`s (USD 1.5 billion) port, but the facility is managed solely by Sri Lankans, she said.

South Asia will not be focus of China`s diplomatic agenda in the coming decades, because most of the conflicts between China and the US occur in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, she said.

Yang also said that China should understand India`s concerns, saying that the two sides have complementary strengths, and they can help ensure regional stability.

Chinese official strategic analysts are taking more favourable view of China-India ties in the recent months as India too has begun making forays into China`s backyard with its `Look East Policy` firming up its ties with Vietnam, Japan and South Korea besides consolidating its linkages with ASEAN countries.

A number of write-ups by analysts here in recent times have asked Beijing to take note of India`s independent stance in foreign policy despite being wooed hard by United States.

Some have argued that China`s push into South Asia also made India to focus on improving its relations with neighbouring countries.


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