China not pursuing strategic equilibrium in S Asia

China does not follow a policy of "strategic equilibrium" in South Asia, which argued that while economic and trade was the "driving force" in ties with India, it was "strategic partnership" that boosted relations with Pak.

Beijing: China does not follow a policy
of "strategic equilibrium" in South Asia, said a commentary in
state-run China Daily, which argued that while economic and
trade was the "driving force" in ties with India, it was
"strategic partnership" that boosted relations with Pakistan.

Analysing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao recent visit to
New Delhi and Islamabad, the commentary stressed that China`s
policy is not to pursue "strategic equilibrium" between India
and Pakistan, with Beijing looking at relations between the
two neighbours differently.

"It is not China`s policy to pursue strategic
equilibrium in South Asia," Fu Xiaoqiang, a researcher with
the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations,
an official think tank, said in an article titled `Wen`s visit
benefits South Asia`.

The article did not elaborate, but it was largely
interpreted here as a rare attempt by China to state that it
would not pursue a policy to balance its relations between
India and its close strategic ally Pakistan.

The commentary argues that different factors drive
Beijing to improve relations with India while retaining
"strategic all weather" relationship with Pakistan.

Wen was in India on a three-day visit from December 15
to promote friendship and expand cooperation between the two
countries which has seen comprehensive and rapid progress.

While economic and trade cooperation, emerged as the
"driving force" and "stabilising factor" in India-China
relations, "strategic partnership between Beijing and
Islamabad originated from common geopolitical and strategic
interests," it said.

Wen`s South Asian trip last week "achieved a wide
range of positive results and made people in the two host
countries understand the tangible benefits of China`s rapid
development, it said.

The visit "not only helped China and India create
guidelines for a win-win relationship in the coming years but
also reinforced the foundation of China`s all-weather
strategic partnership with Pakistan," it said.

Outlining a host of economic deals and decision by
India and China to step up their trade target to USD 100
billion by 2015 during Wen`s visit, it argues that "expanding
exchanges will help China and India reach the point where both
benefit from cooperation and would suffer from and therefore,
will avoid confrontation".

"Ever-growing economic and trade cooperation over the
past two decades, following the normalisation of ties, has
proven to be bilateral relation`s largest driving force and
stabilising factor. Shared development will cause mutual
interests to trump confrontations," it noted.

The overlap of their strategic opportunities is also
expected to prevent Beijing and New Delhi from moving too
close to rivalry, the commentary said, adding "There is
enough space in the world for China and India to pursue
greater development through cooperation".

The commentary in China Daily argued that in the
context of an accelerated rise of both countries, "the West
often makes an issue of, or exaggerates, the so-called
China-India competition to sow discord between the Asian
giants".

"That highlights the importance of a harmonious
coexistence between Beijing and New Delhi, which is key to
determining whether Asian ambitions to create a harmonious
continent can be realise," it underlined.

Wen promised to increase China`s investment in India,
and both countries agreed to open their markets to each other.
These moves, it said, "will increase the cross-border
flow of personnel, logistics and information, and cultivate a
solid economic, non-governmental and cultural foundation for
better relations.

The India-China expanding economic and trade ties have
also boosted bilateral cooperation on a wide range of global
issues. These include energy security, climate change and
international trade talks.

"Despite differences over some issues, such as border
disputes and the Indian Ocean`s security, the two Asian
giants` economic cooperation is expected to keep them on the
track of steady development," it noted.

On Wen`s three-day visit to Pakistan from December 17,
it said: "the strategic partnership between Beijing and
Islamabad originates from common geopolitical and strategic
interests. Consequently, the neighbours are mutually
supportive on a series of issues pertinent to their core
interests".
PTI

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