India may suffer “great losses” in bilateral trade if it joins Japan during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to ask China to abide by an international tribunal’s ruling quashing Beijing’s claims over disputed South China Sea (SCS), Chinese media warned on Tuesday.
“India should beware of the possibility that by becoming embroiled in the disputes, it might end up being a pawn of the U.S. and suffer great losses, especially in terms of business and trade, from China,” an oped article in state-run Global Times said.
Citing media reports that India is seeking support from Tokyo during Mr. Modi’s visit to Japan this week to issue a joint statement asking China to abide by July ruling of the tribunal on the SCS, it said, “India and China should put more efforts into resolving problems like the imbalance of their trade ties.”
Not to India’s benefit
“India won’t benefit much by balancing China through Japan. It will only lead to more mistrust between New Delhi and Beijing,” it said.
“India’s proposal to make new waves in the SCS first came to Singapore last month, but Singapore, a master of the rebalancing strategy, snubbed it. The rejection shows India lacks legitimacy and leadership in making new waves in the SCS,” the article said. It also pointed out that with the recent visit to China of Rodrigo Duterte, the new President of Philippines, the country that filed arbitration case against Beijing, the SCS dispute “passed pinnacle of tensions.”
‘Even Manila has mended fences’
“India should realise that the SCS disputes have passed the pinnacle of tensions after the announcement of the arbitration result, and some involved parties have begun to reflect on their old way of addressing the disputes creating conflicts without seeking productive bilateral negotiations. The Philippines, once a major aggressive claimant against China, has restored its relationship with China,” it said.
The article which comes in the backdrop of recent meeting at Hyderabad between National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi said India wants to scale up its stand on the SCS in retaliation to Beijing blocking India’s bid to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
India not yet qualified for NSG
“India knows that it is not yet qualified for membership in the NSG, according to the organisation’s rules. China’s decision was simply a fulfillment of its international duties. It is preposterous for Indian media and government to scapegoat China as a troublemaker, and seek revenge by making more troubles,” it said.
“As a non-claimant to the SCS and an outsider that has no traditional influence on the region, India has been paying keen attention to any activity, because the country has adopted a ‘Look East’ foreign policy since Modi took office,” the article said.
“India, however, seems to have overestimated its leverage in the region. Although China’s major rivals in the dispute, such as the U.S. and Japan, have been trying to draw India into their camp, the country will be likely regarded as having a token role,” it said.