BEIJING: India must not “exaggerate” concerns on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or “overly interpret” Beijing’s military development, a state-run Chinese daily said today, days after the Indian Army chief suggested New Delhi carry out counter-encirclement of its “future adversaries”.
The article in Global Times, a ruling Communist Party publication, said India worries that China was intentionally meddling in India-Pakistan disputes, “utilising the CPEC (which runs through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) to grant legitimacy to Islamabad’s control over the disputed region.”
“India is viewing Beijing and Islamabad as potential threats and is suspicious of Beijing’s One Belt and One Road initiative and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” it said, adding that “India is exaggerating the situation”.
“Beijing respects New Delhi’s sovereignty concerns, and is willing to mediate in India-Pakistan disputes, on the condition that it accords to the wishes of both India and Pakistan,” it said.
The remarks in the Chinese daily came after Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat last week said India must have close ties with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan considering the security matrix.
He said such a strategy will create a two-pronged dilemma for Pakistan, and also help tackle issues with the other difficult neighbour China, suggesting New Delhi should “carry out counter-encirclement for our future adversaries.”
Referring to his remarks, the article said China advocates peaceful development and it “has and will never seek hegemony in the region.”
China’s defence budget will rise by about seven per cent this year, the lowest since 2010 and Beijing’s military development is “part of its national construction, and New Delhi should not overly interpret it,” it said.
The Indian media suggests that China’s military expenditure for 2017, about 1.3 per cent of the GDP, is three times higher than that of India. “Frankly speaking, even if New Delhi’s military spending is boosted to the same level, India still lags behind its northern neighbour in its military capability. For instance, India’s development of aircraft carrier is very slow despite its early start,” it said.
China has one refurbished aircraft carrier and recently launched a homemade carrier, which was expected to take a few years to operationalise. A third carrier is reportedly under construction.
The official media again urged India to join the ambition Chinese project to link China with Eurasia through the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative amid concern here about New Delhi’s apparent silence over participation in this week’s B&R summit.
At least 28 heads of state and government, including the prime ministers of Pakistan and Sri Lanka, have confirmed their participation in the summit Beijing is projecting as a global acceptance of the initiative.