Washington, Jan 22: As President Barack Obama prepares for an unprecedented second presidential visit to India, a former top American official has cautioned that strengthening of Indo-US ties could antagonise China and would make Beijing increasingly uncooperative on key global issues.
"With the President soon embarking on a trip to India, let me simply express the hope that the US will not unintentionally intensify concerns in Beijing that the US is inclined to help arm India as part of a de facto anti-Chinese Asian coalition," Zbigniew Brzezinski, who served as National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981 during the Jimmy Carter administration told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing.
"That will simply discourage the Chinese from becoming more helpful in coping with the volatile dangers that confront us in Europe and in the Middle East," Brzezinski said in his appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee. However, Senators expressed their concern over military build-up by China.
"A rising China is forcefully asserting itself in historical and territorial disputes and alarming its neighbours, all the while investing billions of dollars in military capabilities that appear designed to displace and erode US power in the Asia-Pacific," said Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Brzezinski said the Chinese have some genuine interests from the standpoint of the enhancement of their international power in the acquisition of cyber capabilities of a confrontational type. "I don't want to over exaggerate this and I'm searching for words that do not create some impression of an imminent danger," he said.
"But part of their military strategic history is the notion that you don't prepare to fight your opponent at that given stage of weaponry. You leapfrog and then you engage in some offensive activity," he said in response to a question.
"I'm concerned that the Chinese may feel that they cannot surpass us in the nuclear area. Note, at their very, very significant nuclear restraint, in terms of nuclear deployments, there's hardly any nuclear weapons really targeted on us. We have many times over nuclear weapons targeted on China," he said.
"But the cyber issue may pose, at least at this stage, only theoretically but at some point, really, the possibility of paralysing an opponent entirely without killing anybody. That could be a very tempting solution for a nation which is, of course, increasingly significant economically, but doesn't realise that there's an enormous military disparity between China and us," he said.
"That I think suggests that we have to be far more inclined to raise those issues with the Chinese, which we have done, to some extent. But, even more important, to engage in deterrence by having a capability to respond effectively or to prevent an attempt from being successful," said the former National Security Advisor.