International ties

India should not fidget at signs of intimacy

By Wang Hui (
Updated: 2010-07-08 16:18
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Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's on-going visit to Beijing has aroused a lot of interest and concern from some Indian media. The much-anticipated deal on nuclear reactors between China and Pakistan was the centerpiece of the attention. Though, no further deal was reached when Zardari and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao held talks on Wednesday, the visit certainly firms up Beijing's commitment to continue its co-operation with Islamabad in the filed of civil nuclear energy.

On the surface, concern on possible nuclear proliferation in South Asia seems to have fueled the related media reports. However, delving deeper, lack of political trust is the crux of the matter.

The proposed nuclear reactors constitute an expansion of the decades-old Chashma project in Pakistan's Punjab province. The Sino-Pakistani Chashma project has been under safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency. As a signatory state to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, China always remains committed to safeguarding the international regime on nuclear non-proliferation.

Therefore, any concerns over this nuclear energy project are unnecessary. They would only intensify suspicion and distrust between New Delhi and Beijing.

Due to the enmity between New Delhi and Islamabad, Beijing often feels like walking a political tight rope when trying to balance its relations with the two. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, the envoy of the Indian prime minister, in Beijing one day before Zardari's arrival.

Beijing highly values its good neighborly ties with Islamabad and New Delhi, regarding both as a strategic partner. While cherishing the traditional bond with Islamabad, it is also eager to bring its relations with New Delhi to a higher level.

Maintaining stable bilateral ties with the two major players in South Asia is in the national interests of China. As a close neighbor, China is willing to see and contribute to peace and security in the sub continent. In this regard, the interests of the three countries converge.

Therefore, New Delhi does not need to fidget each time it sees signs of intimacy between Beijing and Islamabad. Instead, it should look to the larger picture of India-China relationship and deepen its political trust with Beijing.

Sino-Pakistani friendship takes its root in a high degree of long-term mutual trust and support. That is why it has been widely acknowledged as "all-weather and time-tested." If Sino-Indian relations could sail along a smoother track, they will embrace an even brighter future too.