Chinese think tank slams US’ overtly pro-India stance

July 21st, 2011 - 9:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi/Beijing, July 21 (IANS) China has taken careful note of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech pitching for a larger global role for India in East Asia, with an official Chinese think tank saying Washington’s “overtly pro-India stance” will hurt its larger goal of fighting militancy in Pakistan.

“Not surprisingly, counter-terrorism is one of the top issues on Clinton’s agenda during her (recent) visit to India,” says an article titled “US-South Asia policy”, published in the state-run China Daily.

Both the US and India are doing the “opposite of what they should have done to help Pakistan fight terrorists”, said the article written by Fu Xiaoqiang, Director of the Centre for Counter-terrorism Studies at the state-owned China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.

“Their hard stance could provoke Pakistanis and help Islamic extremists strengthen their base in Pakistan,” argues the article.

The article by the Chinese analyst also conveys concern over the burgeoning US-India cooperation in fields of civil nuclear technology and counter-terrorism, initiatives seen in Beijing as aimed at China’s close strategic ally Pakistan.

During their second strategic dialogue held in New Delhi Tuesday, Clinton held wide-ranging talks with India’s External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. After the talks, India and the US asked Pakistan to dismantle safe sanctuaries for terror in its territory. Asking Pakistan to prosecute 26/11 terrorists “urgently and swiftly”, Clinton expressed the US’ growing frustration with Pakistan, saying there was a limit to what the US could do to crack down on terror.

Beijing has been keeping a close watch on Clinton’s three-day visit to India that ended with the US top diplomat making a spirited speech in Chennai asking India to take a leadership role in the world, specially in East Asia, a region which Beijing sees as its extended sphere of influence.

Asking New Delhi “think and act East”, Clinton said India could build a leadership role in the Asia-Pacific in forums like the East Asia Summit and the Asian Regional Forum.

She exhorted India to contribute more to maritime security, democracy promotion and “explore a new Silk Route” into Central Asia, support rebuilding Afghanistan and even help stabilise Pakistan.

“Clinton said the US has made it clear to Pakistan that confronting terrorism in all forms is in Islamabad’s interest. Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna responded by saying that terror sanctuaries in Pakistan need to be eliminated for regional peace and stability. And Krishna welcomed Washington’s decision to suspend the USD 800-million aid to Islamabad,” it said.

“The US may have its reasons for the overtly pro-India stance in its South Asia strategy. But that could harm Pakistan’s national security and the sustainability of US-Pakistan relations,” says the article.

“Over the past 10 years, the US has treated India as Pakistan’s arch-rival, as a global strategic partner - providing it with civilian nuclear fuel and technology - and has let India spread its influence in Afghanistan,” said the article.

The article contends that the US was moving away from Pakistan after the killing of Al Qaeda’s founder Osama bin Laden who was found hiding in Abbotabad.

It goes on to argue that “if the US is really serious about fighting terrorism in South Asia, it should treat India and Pakistan more equally, instead of standing closer to New Delhi and putting extra pressure on Islamabad. This will promote peace in the region and eventually help the US achieve its anti-terrorism goal. Or else, it could yield the opposite result,” it said.

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