Beijing :The high-profile dinner hosted by US President Barack Obama for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week was prompted more by American “concerns for India-Pakistan relations” than India’s importance for the US in the war against terrorism, according to the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China.
In an opinion piece, People’s Daily said the US relies mainly on Pakistan and Afghanistan, not India, in its fight against terrorism in South Asia.
It wrote: “Ever since Obama assumed presidency in late January, Pakistan has occupied a position of crucial importance in the US’ South Asia policies, and India fears that it would be turned into a ‘variable factor’ itself in complex geopolitical equations with merely a regional role to play.
“Indian strategists, however, come to realise that the US hinges on Pakistan and Afghanistan instead of India in counter-terrorism in South Asia, and India’s involvement in the US efforts to fight terrorism is devised only to ease the strained relations between India and Pakistan.”
Thus, such a “vital, high-profile reception of the Indian prime minister by Washington DC was intended precisely to dissolve some concerns for Indian-Pakistan relations,” the Chinese daily said in the article titled “US, India try to form closer, high-profile partnership”.
The daily added: “The American side has referred to India as an indispensable or irreplaceable partner in the fight against terrorism in the South Asia region and on whether President Obama’s new Afghan strategy would pay off.”
The article said American-Indian ties remained cool during the cold war era, but the changing global strategic situation has led to warming of their bilateral relationships in recent years.
“A major breakthrough was a civil nuclear deal scored during the tenure of former President George W. Bush. According to the deal, India, which has not yet signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, would be eligible to buy US dual-use nuclear technology and nuclear fuel,” it pointed out.
“To date, changes in the global strategic structure prompt the US and India to expand their key realms of strategic cooperation with a more active posture.”
The Chinese daily sees the July visit of Hillary Clinton to India to sign an ‘end-user monitoring agreement’ and the first-ever US-India joint army exercise held in October as steps in the growing relationship between India and the US