Chinese scholars have cautioned India against joining any joint patrol of the South China Sea with the United States.
The US has been proposing joint patrols with India for a long time but India has so far repeatedly rejected the proposal.
“Of course, any country has the right to navigate through the high seas and in South China Sea, the US being the most powerful country in the world is asserting that right; but it may not be good for India to join the US in this venture,” said Professor Zhang Jia Dong, Director of the Centre of South Asian Studies, Fudan University, in response to a question on the issue.
Prof. Zhang was leading a delegation of seven academicians and think tank representatives from China at an interaction with the faculty of ORF, Kolkata on July 3, 2017.
Prof. Rakhahari Chatterji, Dr. Nilanjan Ghosh and Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury gave an overview of the research activities done at the Kolkata Chapter of ORF. The interaction touched upon several topics of bilateral relations as well as the role of India and China in the region and the world.
The delegation members were concerned about India’s reluctance in joining the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR). New Delhi’s sovereignty concerns over OBOR passing through Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir is the major stumbling block in India’s participation in OBOR.
It was highlighted that the agreements under OBOR or Belt and Road Initiative need more transparency. Pakistan’s incapacity for repayment of the huge debts on the CPEC was pointed out, but the Chinese representatives mentioned that Chinese companies were directly dealing with the Pakistan government and not with the private sector in Pakistan and it has doled out enough perk for making the CPEC corridor economically viable.
On the recent border stand-off near Sikkim, the delegation argued that India had violated the 1890 Agreement with China by entering into “the Chinese territory”. It also claimed that India’s border with China in the Sikkim sector was well settled. However, it was pointed that the territory that China was claiming to be its own was in fact Bhutan’s territory and a change in the status quo at the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction by China would negatively affect India’s security interests.
The need for nurturing good relations between China and India, including relations at the State level, was emphasised and ways to achieve the same were discussed. Mention was made to West Bengal’s cultural linkages with China. It was also pointed out that Kolkata has been the host to a vibrant Chinese community which was well settled in Kolkata. Prof. Zhang happily recalled that while in the city they had the opportunity of having dinner at a Chinese restaurant.