Beijing, Dec 11: As Shinzo Abe begins his crucial visit to India today looking to clinch a slew of deals including bullet trains and amphibious defence planes, Chinese media today said the Japanese premier is trying to rope in India as part of a strategy to contain arch rival China.
"From a strategic perspective, China is an essential factor behind the closer Japan-India relationship," said an article titled 'Tokyo's pursuit of New Delhi may stumble' published in the state-run Global Times.
"Tokyo is trying to contain and besiege Beijing by every possible means, and Abe will not miss any chance to draw Modi over to his side to counter China," it said.
The article also said while India for its part is trying to balance its ties between China and Japan which have tenuous relations due to growing regional rivalry, New Delhi is looking to "hitchhike" more concessions. "New Delhi is quite cautious in handling its relations with Beijing and Tokyo.
The Indian government has no intention to take sides between China and Japan, aware that setting itself against Beijing will bring no good to New Delhi.
"India is hoping to hitchhike on China's rise to obtain more economic benefits, and thus is unwilling to offend the world's second largest economy.
Knowing that China-Japan relationship is far from perfect, the Indian government is cautious in developing ties with Tokyo, so as to leave itself some leeway in handling its relations with Beijing," it said.
The Indian government prioritises economic development over the need to balance and contain China's rise, it said adding that by cooperating with Japan, India looks forward to reaping more profits from Japanese enterprises.
"Given its high expectations toward investments from both Japan and China, New Delhi is attempting to strike a balance between the two countries," it said.
Highlighting China's concerns over India's invitation to Japan to take part in the annual Malabar naval exercises along with the US, it said the move has cast a shadow on regional security and stability.
"The India-launched anti-submarine drill was most likely targeting China. New Delhi, annoyed by Beijing's presence in surrounding areas, invited Tokyo to the drill as a counter measure," it said.
"Although the likelihood of India turning hostile against China remains quite low, the two nations still suffer from misunderstanding and distrust. While the Indian government may regard Beijing's presence in its surrounding waters as provocative, the Chinese side is also dissatisfied and annoyed by the naval drill. Given this, the two sides should talk more," it said.
"Nonetheless, there is no need for China to be too concerned about a closer India-Japan relationship. The annual summits between the top Indian and Japanese leaders have been carried out for years.
Yet, Beijing is highly concerned if New Delhi-Tokyo cooperation poses a threat to the regional peace and stability. Beijing shares many common interests and divergences with New Delhi. The two sides need to communicate more in the future," it said.