China voices peace hopes on In­dian-US pact

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By AN BAIJIE an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China hopes that co­op­er­a­tion be­tween In­dia and the United States will help to main­tain re­gional peace and sta­bil­ity, For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said on Tues­day when com­ment­ing on a key mil­i­tary lo­gis­tics agree­ment.

The Lo­gis­tics Ex­change Mem­o­ran­dum of Agree­ment was signed be­tween In­dia and the US on Mon­day af­ter 12 years of dis­cus­sions.

Hua said at a reg­u­lar news con­fer­ence that China had no­ticed re­ports about the agree­ment and hoped that this meant that co­op­er­a­tion be­tween In­dia and the US would be nor­mal.

The core of the agree­ment pro­vides for the two coun­tries’ naval ships and air­craft to dock and land at each other’s fa­cil­i­ties to take on sup­plies such as fuel.

In­dian and US naval ships and air­craft have of­ten used each other’s naval and air bases be­fore, but this has in­volved a com­plex pro­cess in which clear­ance had to be ob­tained for each in­di­vid­ual case.

The Hin­dus­tan Times said the agree­ment will “make it eas­ier for the In­dian Navy to use the US base sys­tem for its own op­er­a­tions”, while the same is true for US ships.

In­dian De­fense Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar said on Mon­day that this is not an agree­mentto set up bases, but to fa­cil­i­tate lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port be­tween the two mil­i­taries.

Forbes magazine said in an ar­ti­cle that for the US, this is just part of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s much larger “pivot” to Asia aimed at meet­ing the chal­lenge posed by a ris­ing China. “The US Navy plans to de­ploy 60 per­cent of its sur­face ships in the Indo-Pa­cific (re­gion) in the near fu­ture,” the ar­ti­cle said.

In­stead of hav­ing to build fa­cil­i­ties vir­tu­ally from the ground up, as in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US has the ben­e­fit of sim­ple ar­range­ments cov­er­ing “tremen­dous In­dian fa­cil­i­ties,” the ar­ti­cle added.

Agence France-Presse re­ported that the agree­ment has been signed “in an ef­fort to strengthen de­fense ties to counter con­cerns over China’s grow­ing mil­i­tary as­sertive­ness”.

Af­ter the agree­ment was signed, vis­it­ing US Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry be­gan talks with In­dia’s top lead­ers on Tues­day.

Kerry was due to meet with In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi and other lead­ers in New Delhi to dis­cuss am­bi­tious plans to in­crease trade be­tween their two coun­tries five­fold to about $500 bil­lion.

Guo Yan­jun, deputy di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Asian Stud­ies at China For­eign Af­fairs Univer­sity, said China does not need to over­re­act to the US-In­dia lo­gis­tics agree­ment.

“Prime Min­is­ter Modi has main­tained fre­quent com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, and to show its bal­ance be­tween China and the US, In­dia needs to have some close co­op­er­a­tion with the US, which is to­tally un­der­stand­able,” he said.

Jin Yong, deputy head of the School of For­eign Stud­ies at Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Univer­sity of China, said a lack of po­lit­i­cal trust re­mains the big­gest prob­lem for the Sino-In­dian re­la­tion­ship.

“Be­cause of ge­o­graph­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal is­sues, In­dia con­sid­ers the rise of China as a threat rather than an op­por­tu­nity, and this ‘trust deficit’ has af­fected ex­changes be­tween the two coun­tries.” Zhang Yaozhong con­trib­uted to the story.

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