In the wake of the Doklam standoff in 2017, India has brought changes in its China policy but those are mainly tactical and not strategic, an op-ed piece in China's Global Times media has said.
Published on April 18, the piece titled 'India's revised China policy tactical adjustment, not strategic change' said after the standoff at Doklam, the two neighbouring countries reviewed and figured each other's strategic motives.
"Since the end of last year, there have been frequent exchanges between high-level officials of both sides. In December, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and State Councilor Yang Jiechi visited India within half a month of each other. In February, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited China. External affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit China later this week to participate in the foreign ministers meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) during which she will also hold talks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. Such exchanges between China and India indicate that bilateral ties are gradually warming," the op-ed piece said.
It also explained three reasons why India has brought changes in its China policy.
First, given a number of diplomatic setbacks that the Narendra Modi government has faced, debates are on over its foreign policies - at the core of which is its China policy - the Global Times article said. It said at regional and global levels, New Delhi has gone closer to the West and Japan, thereby violating its principle of non-alignment which saw an adverse impact on its relations with China and Russia.
Regarding the Indo-Pacific strategy of the US which it has named to corner China, the article said India is not pleased with the American definition of the strategy and its lack of financial support. New Delhi, as per the Chinese media's piece, is also aware of China's concern about the strategy and has a full understanding of the massive gap that exists between China and India and is apprehensive that China would take tough measures against India, hurting its domestic progress.
The second reason is the general elections scheduled next year. For the Modi government, regional stability and diplomatic feats matter ahead of the next big test and that includes improving ties with China and Russia and bargaining with China over its much discussed Belt and Road Initiative, the article said.
The Global Times article said India has to bank on China on global and regional issues for the USA has abandoned multilateralism, opposed free trade and breached the global trade system. India hopes that it could cooperate with China on matters of globalisation and free trade and improve cooperation on climate change, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the op-ed said.
The third and the final point is India's economic dilemmas, said the piece. India's economy is more closely connected with the global economy than ever before and the rising interest rates of the Federal Reserve and anti-deflationary measures of the developed countries would disrupt India's currency and financial policies, affect the financial market's stability and obstruct the development of free trade, the article said.
The Global Times article concluded by saying that India has changed its understanding of the strength gap with China. In the past few years, India believed its hardline position would see China make compromise and it engaged with the Chinese by wooing the Americans. India also angered China on Taiwan and Tibet, it said, adding that it would be interesting to see whether such diplomatic moves would change.
"The warming of ties between China and India is out of the needs of both sides. In the short term, India hopes to have better relations with China so as to solve its domestic issues and develop its economy. In the long run, it wants to catch up with China in strength. China needs to watch India's words and deeds closely," piece concluded.