The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) has started working on a "China threat" theory as part of its preparations for the 2019 Lok Sabha election and it is inappropriate at the time, given the betterment of India's relations with China, the latter's Global Times said in an op-ed published on Thursday, June 21.
"According to the Indian Express, the 2018 training material for India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tells its cadres that China is a threat to India," the piece said, adding: "India's 2019 general election is less than a year away and it seems that the BJP has started to gear up for the next round of campaigns through playing the China card."
It said unlike the Congress which it called a "broad-based party", the BJP started as a regional party with a nationalist ideology which git reflected through New Delhi's constant problems with India and its "attempt" to disrupt the development of the China-led Belt and Road initiative in South Asia as well as the Indian Ocean Region.
The Global Times op-ed said: "Today's Hindu nationalism has turned into a narrow-minded, conservative and highly exclusive mindset. It may help the BJP to win a majority in polls, but it will also jeopardize the nation's political and economic development."
Citing a report by the New York Times which said everything for PM Modi now is about 2019, the Global Times report said if that is the case, the Indian prime minister should be serious about bettering his country's ties with China as that would "help him score extra points".
The piece emphasised on betterment of India-China relations saying it would help India overcome financial concerns - one of the major challenge for New Delhi at the moment - that include unemployment and deficit financing.
"Boosting employment is the biggest challenge for New Delhi right now. In order to promote economic growth, it still resorts to deficit financing - expenditures in excess of public revenues - which is normally made possible by borrowing. As a result, its rising deficit has led to global markets' concern over India's financial problems. If the country does regard economic development as its fundamental goal, the improvement of Sino-Indian relations will bring it more benefits," it said.
It also said the two neighbours have shown more intent in improving their ties, like through high-level exchanges. PM Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping for an informal summit in Wuhan in April and also at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Qingdao in early June. Modi also sent a positive message about India's relations with China at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore this month which was praised by the Chinese side. The fresh engagement after the Doklam standoff of last year generated hopes about relationship between Asia's two biggest countries. The ultra-protectionist measures adopted by the US and also its jeoparidising the Iran nuclear deal put the Indians and the Chinese on the same page.
The Global Time op-ed said these interactions showed that pragmatism can overcome differences between the two neighbours and patted New Delhi for showing a "mature attitude" in handling disputes with Beijing.
Taking a dig at the BJP in its conclusion, the Chinese piece said the saffron party had tried to promote the same "China threat" theory in 2015, adding that it is inappropriate when the two nations' bilateral relations were seeing better times.
"The BJP should be careful not to lose sight of the forest for the trees," it concluded.