Washington: Against the backdrop of some provocative steps by China, PM Manmohan Singh has said there was "certain amount of assertiveness" by China lately and that India will not choose its "non-democratic" path.
"There is certain amount of assertiveness on the part of
Chinese. I don`t fully understand the reasons for it. That has
to be taken note of," Singh said during an interaction at the
US Council for Foreign Relations here.
In a hard-hitting statement, he also sought to ridicule
China`s growth, suggesting that it was achieved by the "writ
of the ruling group in an undemocratic set-up" while ignoring
values like respect for human rights and multi-ethnic and
"There is no doubt that the Chinese growth performance is superior to the Indian performance," he said in response to another question on why the Indian economic performance was lagging behind that of China`s.
"But I have always believed there are other values which are more important than the growth of gross domestic product like respect for fundamental human freedoms, respect for rule of law, respect for multi-religious, multi-ethnic rights," he said.
"Certainly, I would not like to choose the Chinese path. I would like to stick to the Indian path," he stressed.
Referring to the longstanding India-China border
problems, the Prime Minister said India has been "trying hard"
to engage China over the last five years in an attempt to
resolve the dispute through dialogue.
Pending the solution, the two countries have agreed to
maintain peace and tranquility on the borders. "I have
received these assurances from China at the highest level,"
said Singh, who is here on a four-day visit since Sunday.
The Prime Minister said India might seem to be
indecisive at times, but "once democracy decides on the basis
of wide-ranging consensus, any reforms that are undertaken
will be far more durable, far more effective than the reforms
introduced by the writ of ruling group in a non-democratic
He did not elaborate but the statement assumes
significance considering that China has recently been involved
in some provocative steps like issuing visas to residents of
Jammu and Kashmir on stapled sheets of paper rather than
passport, to send out a message that the state was not a part
Besides, China has objected to the Prime Minister`s
visit to Arunachal Pradesh, is participating in projects in
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir despite India`s objections and
mentioned Indo-Pak relations in Joint Statement with the US.
Singh sought to downplay the recent US-China joint statement saying it`s not of "direct concern" to him.
"What happens between President Obama and Chinese President Hu is not of direct concern to us," he said.
He was responding to a question on a section of the recent US-China joint statement envisaging a role for Beijing in South Asia`s developments and in India-Pakistan affairs that triggered apprehensions in India about the Obama administration appeasing China at the cost of India.
The joint statement was issued after the talks between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing last week.
The statement cast a shadow over the visit of Manmohan Singh to the US, strengthening the impression among some quarters that the Obama administration was more focused on China than maintaining momentum of ties with India which were transformed by a landmark nuclear deal last year.
In a bid to repudiate any impression of rivalry between India and China, the two rising Asian powers, Manmohan Singh underlined that engagement was the best way to promote the peaceful rise of China.
"We want the world to prepare for the peaceful rise of China as a major power. Engagement is the right path for India as well as the US," he said.