Beijing, July 6: India's proposal to hold a bilateral maritime dialogue with China is a significant move and the Chinese media, too, has welcomed the step saying dialogue is essential to advance the two nations' relations.
According to source, the proposed maritime dialogue with Beijing is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for a broader vision of the Indo-Pacific which he had presented during his maiden speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in June. Modi had on that occasion stated clearly India's friendly ties with big powers, reiterating New Delhi's emphasis on good ties with all, especially China which the US has targeted under the new terminology of Indo-Pacific.
China's Global Times news website has said in an op-ed titled 'Dialogue to build Sino-Indian trust, advance relations' that India's proposal to hold a maritime dialogue with China on the Indo-Pacific region is a key step for the two neighbours to build their mutual trust and better bilateral cooperation.
"The dialogue comes amid the US's continued promotion of the "American First" policy and trade stick tactics against many of its trading partners, including China and India. The dramatic change in world order necessitates more cooperation between countries, especially the two most populous Asian ones," it said.
India and China have seen a welcome warmth in their relationship after Modi visited Wuhan in April to hold an informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The duo met again at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Qingdao in June. Modi's favourable words in Shangri-La in between and Air India's recent changing the name 'Taiwan' into 'Chinese Teipei' have earned accolades from the Chinese side and it shows both sides are keen on closer ties, especially at a time when the US has dubbed almost every nation - its foe or friend - as an adversary.
India's proposal is also key for it is a part of the Quad - the four-side club including the US, Australia and Japan besides India which was revived to deal with China. Modi's emphasis on better relations between with China changes the dynamics for the Quad's functioning.
"India's status as a South Asian power and its long-existing clout in the region deserves China's recognition and adequate attention. The country is fraught with challenges such as worn-out infrastructure, but it has tremendous potential for development," the Global Times op-ed said while focusing on the prospects of India's economic relationship with China.
"In the meantime, China's fast development over the past decades has created a spillover effect on Asia and beyond, and brought massive opportunities to India and other countries. India received nearly 30 percent of funds provided by the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in the past two years, of which most was allocated for infrastructure development in electricity and transportation."
It said the two large neighbours and largest countries in Asia can not avoid differences altogether but they also have common interests and play roles complimentary to each other in areas like infrastructure.
India has also proposed maritime dialogue with Russia - its long-time ally - to build a consensus on having a legal framework in the Indo-Pacific region.